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17/06/01 . Unknown . Luton/Dunstable on Sunday . UK
Mac man sacked after 'Paki' taunt
A McDonald's worker claims he was fired after retaliating to racial abuse from an irate customer.
Ishtiaq Shahid, of Hayhurst Road, Luton, claims he was provoked by a customer who called him 'Paki' and was abusive to him and another member of staff.
He was initially suspended from McDonald's, in Luton Road, Dunstable, after he lost his temper and swore at the customer.
But although he was asked to work a shift two days after the incident because the restaurant was under-staffed, bosses decided to fire him the following week.
Mr Shahid, who has worked at the fast-food restaurant for three-and-a-half years, is furious at the decision. He said: "I admit that I did swear at the customer, but I should not have to put up with racial abuse at work.
"I tried to resolve the situation calmly at first. We were really short-staffed on the night and the customer was abusing my brother, Ikhlaq, who also works at the restaurant.
"The customer was complaining that Ikhlaq was taking too long to serve him so I went over to sort it out.
"I went through all the standard procedures, telling him that we were under-staffed and that we were working as quickly as possible."
"But he continued to be abusive to me and as he was leaving he said 'Paki' and swore at me."
Although still under suspension, Mr Shahid says he was called back in after two days as the restaurant was short-staffed.
He said: "I was told to come in and work but they still sacked me a week after this.
"I feel angry that they seem to care more about their profits and customers than their own staff.
"My manager was standing behind me the whole time the customer was abusing me and he did not step in once. He only took action when I answered back."
A spokesman for McDonald's said: "I have looked into the situation and as it stands I find it very difficult to comment as Ishtiaq may want to appeal. Given the state of play at the moment, it is perhaps not wise for me to comment on the situation."