Budleigh Tesco worker loses scratchcard race discrimination case

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- Credit: Archant

A Tesco worker claimed she was racially discriminated against after she was searched after winning £30 on a scratchcard in her store, an employment tribunal heard. 

Rosemary Carter worked for six months as a customer assistant at the Tesco Express store in Budleigh Salterton from March 2020 - one of several temporary staff taken on during the pandemic. 

Tesco has a policy that no staff member can carry money or personal possessions like phones or sweets at work in a bid to avoid confusion if money goes missing and someone is accused of theft. 

One day in July 2020, Mrs Carter bought a scratch card during her morning break and won £30 and was given the cash by a colleague on the till. 

Shortly afterwards she went through a search procedure with her manager Carrie Crawford - and Mrs Carter, who comes from Zambia, claimed this was 'unfair and demeaning' 

She claimed she was the only non-white member of staff in the small store and had it not been for her race, this search would not have happened. 

The tribunal heard personal searches are a fact of life for staff at the store saying it is company policy and each search takes a minute or two.  

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Staff should be accompanied but it is not always possible in smaller stores and during social distancing. 

But at Budleigh, the searches could be done alone, as there is CCTV coverage in a small back office. 

Search ledgers were kept which showed that a search was carried out most days, and often there were three a day at the store. 

Mrs Carter did not know about the 'not having cash at work' policy and she had never been searched before, the tribunal heard. 

In the office Mrs Carter was asked to turn out her pockets and she produced a £1 coin not the £30. 

The tribunal said: "She may have been a bit embarrassed as the money was in her bra, but she was then asked about other money and produced it." 

She was later signed off sick and her contract ended in the September before complaining to the chief executive of Tesco by which time the CCTV had been deleted. 

Tesco appointed an out-of-store investigator who dismissed her complaint of race discrimination but did say Mrs Carter should have been with a companion during the search. 

But the Exeter tribunal dismissed her complaints of harassment and racial discrimination.