Natalie Rivans was shopping with her girlfriend Helen Embleton at Tesco Extra in Surrey Quays when a cashier who had served a pregnant lesbian couple in front of them apparently said homosexuality was "wrong" and "all gay people should die alone". When Ms Rivans challenged the worker after the incident on January 3, she allegedly responded: "It's a free country so I can say what I like".
The couple, both 30, then complained to the store manager. Tesco today confirmed an internal investigation had been launched and the cashier has since faced a disciplinary hearing.So, all’s well that ends well, right?
Ms Rivans, who lives with her partner in Deptford, said they were "mortified" by the abuse and had demanded a full apology from Tesco. She said: "It is not something I have ever come across in London before. I am really disgusted.
"We were absolutely mortified. Tesco need to change their policy and procedures."Eh..? Why? What did they do that encouraged this?
Ms Embleton, who works for the NHS, said: "I was just surprised at [the cashier's] audacity. She was not bothered that she had offended her in the slightest. She was so blasé when she said it was a "free country". I have not been out for long so have not experienced homophobia. It is just not acceptable in this day and age."Did Tesco somehow lead this cashier to believe that it would be acceptable, then? Do you have proof of this?
Simon Feeke, spokesman for gay rights charity Stonewall, urged Tesco to review its training guidelines following the incident.Why, do they have an ‘Insulting The Customer’ course, or something?
"Through our Diversity Champions programme we have worked with Tesco to ensure they have policies and procedures to deal with incidences like this.
"We’re encouraging Tesco to review their current training provision and make sure they follow our latest guidance on staff training on fair treatment and respect for gay colleagues and customers.
"In modern Britain businesses should welcome all customers. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s basic business sense."Ah, right, so really, what this is about is you seeking to use this incident to justify your own continued existence?
A Tesco spokeswoman said it had apologised to the couple and was now formally investigating the complaint. "We work hard to make sure that everyone is welcome at Tesco and put great emphasis on celebrating diversity and ensuring that we are an inclusive place to work and shop.
"Any remarks or actions from our colleagues which are not in line with these beliefs are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”I fail to see what more Tesco can do, frankly. If an employee takes it into their head to breach all the guidelines, there’s nothing to stop them. All Tesco can do is discipline them afterwards. Which they have.