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11/07/01 . By Anna Whitney . The Independent . UK
McDonald's manager 'was told to hire fewer Asians'
A former manager of a McDonald's restaurant described yesterday how he was told, in thinly disguised racist terms, that too many of his employees were black or Asian. 11 July 2001
Dharmender Singh told an employment tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, that white and black people were represented by the words "salt" and "pepper". He said he was told there was "too much pepper" a veiled reference to the racial origins of people working for him at the fast-food outlet he managed. He also claimed that, at a training session for managers, he was told how "tactfully" to reject job applicants who were Sikhs.
Mr Singh has been giving evidence this week in support of Mogees Malik, 32, a former colleague at the restaurant in Slough, who has claimed that racial discrimination forced him to quit his job. Mr Malik is also suing McDonald's, his employer of 15 years, for unfair constructive dismissal and breach of contract.
Mr Malik claims that racist comments were made about him and says he was given an unfair performance review because he is Asian.
At the time of the alleged incidents, Mr Singh was the general manager of the restaurant. The tribunal was told that the area's operations consultant, Jason Clark, referred to the employee as "lazy and useless", and instructed Mr Singh to write Mr Malik's appraisal, although he had known him for less than a month.
Mr Singh said: "Jason Clark instructed me to give him an unsatisfactory rating. This sticks in my mind because I had never experienced this before at McDonald's. I did speak to Mr Malik about this and in my mind I was not going to do the review because it was unfair." He added: "Jason Clark said that once it was completed I should show it to him before I sat down with Mr Malik, which had not happened before."
The store's below-average performance had been blamed on Mr Malik, who had been told he had no future there and asked to resign, Mr Singh claimed. But the former manager admitted that he had not heard any racist comments first hand.
Deshpal Panesar, representing McDonald's, told the hearing that the two staff members alleged to have been racist had previously promoted at least five employees from ethnic-minority backgrounds after performance reviews.
The tribunal continues.