Gift­shop­sacked­him.Now heget­sado­na­tion­to­sue

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BYADAMHENDERSON

A MAN who claims he was fired for be­ing Jewish has got cash back­ing from the com­mu­nity to take his for­mer em­ploy­ers to court.

Jonathan Litewski, 26, had been work­ing part-time over the sum­mer at Old Town Con­text, an in­de­pen­dent sou­venir gift shop in Ed­in­burgh.

He says he was dis­missed with­out warn­ing af­ter his boss claimed his po­lit­i­cal views changed when he re­turned from a Birthright trip to Is­rael.

His for­mer em­ploy­ers deny this, in­sist­ing the de­ci­sion was based on his poor per­for­mance.

Mr Litewski said: “There was no wit­ness, no warn­ing, noth­ing to sign.

“She told me: ‘I don’t know what hap­pened to you in Is­rael but since you’ve come back your work has gone down­hill and you’ve be­come a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­son — not one we want work­ing for our com­pany.’

“It only lasted about two min­utes, then she es­corted me off the premises.”

He claims he was once asked to re­move a Ma­gen David neck­lace be­cause it would make cus­tomers think the store was pro-Is­rael.

Mr Litewski has in­structed a lawyer and is ap­ply­ing for le­gal aid but says he has a pledge of £1,000 if he needs it.

Michael Weiger, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of UJIA, said: “The money is com­ing from se­nior com­mu­nity lead­ers who want to sup­port the young man.

“They asked me to com­mu­ni­cate that to him be­cause they knew he was on Birthright.”

UJIA runs Birthright pro­grammes which take Jews aged 20-26 on edu- cational and cul­tural tours of Is­rael.

The Scot­tish Coun­cil of Jewish Com­mu­ni­ties con­firmed it has helped Mr Litewski find “pro­fes­sional ad­vice” in the dis­pute.

An­drew McRae, the owner of Old Town Con­text, said: “The grounds for Mr Litewski’s dis­missal were solely per­for­mance-re­lated, which was made clear to him.

“We do not con­done any form of racial or re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion and would treat any such al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate behaviour from any­one con­nected with our busi­ness very se­ri­ously in­deed.

“We un­der­stand that Mr Litewski may be ag­grieved at be­ing asked to leave our em­ploy­ment, but he has not at any time raised con­cerns with us that he was treated dif­fer­ently as a re­sult of his re­li­gious be­liefs, be­cause it did not hap­pen.”

PHOTO: MULLOCK’S

Wor­ship­pers at the Western Wall cap­tured by 19th-cen­tury pho­tog­ra­pher P Bergheim. A set of 48 of his images of the Holy Land, dat­ing from the 1860s, will go on sale at Mullock’s auc­tion house in Shrop­shire next month

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