Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Sunday, 2 November 2008

Caterer sues police over sausages

Mr Khoja wants the informal agreement formalised by the tribunal

A Muslim catering manager has accused the Metropolitan Police of religious discrimination as he was told he may have to handle sausages and bacon.

Hasanali Khoja was told he would be expected to handle pork products at his new job at the Empress State Building in Earls Court, west London.

His lawyer said Mr Khoja was excused from pork meat in his previous job at Hendon Police College in north London.

An informal agreement was reached with the force but he wants it formalised.

Obviously nobody in my situation would be happy
Hasanali Khoja

An employment tribunal in Watford will consider his claim in May 2009.

A Metropolitan Police (Met) spokesman said it was defending a claim of religious discrimination brought against it at an employment tribunal.

Islam forbids the consumption of pork meat or products containing pork.

Mr Khoja, a senior catering manager, has been working with the Met since 2005 and filed the claim in the tribunal last year.

He said: "Obviously nobody in my situation would be happy. Pork handling is the issue."

Religious beliefs

His lawyer Khalid Sofi said: "The claim is about his religious beliefs. They failed to accommodate him as they had a duty to do under the law.

"He would have had to do certain things and bacon would have been involved."

Mr Sofi said the Met reached an informal agreement with his client in June to excuse him from handling pork products after he took special leave from his job.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A catering manager is bringing employment tribunal proceedings against the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) alleging religious belief discrimination.

"The MPS is defending the claim."

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