A WORKER who was sacked by Asda for sharing a Billy Connolly video on Facebook says he will be taking his case further.
Brian Leach hit national headlines this week when he was dismissed from Asda’s Dewsbury store for breaching the company’s social media policies after complaints from colleagues that the comedy routine was offensive.
But the 54-year-old says he has been unfairly treated, claiming another member of staff – who has not been dismissed – re-shared the post on Instagram to brand him as a racist.
Brian believes that senior managers at the store asked his colleague to take the post down, but no further action has been taken.
“To me he’s done worse, he’s singled me out in the community,” Brian said.
“When I heard about it I was very stressed. I was really not wanting to go to work, I was really frightened.”
Brian said he told Asda officials about the other post in a disciplinary meeting last week, during which he was dismissed.
The original video features Billy Connolly’s ‘Religion is Over’ routine, taken from his live stage act a number of years ago, in which he criticises followers of Christianity and Islam.
The Glaswegian comedian says: “Religion is over lads, it’s f***ing over. Take your Reformation, your Vatican, your f***ing Mecca, and f*** off.
“Suicide f***ing bombing, now there’s a bright idea. Every time there’s a bang the world is a w***er short. F***ing idiots.”
Brian, who has worked as a ‘meeter and greeter’ at the Mill Street West store for nearly five years, said he removed the post straight away and apologised for any offence caused.
He said: “I didn’t mean to offend anybody, it was a joke. I haven’t got a racist bone in my body.”
Brian, from Thornhill, was pulled into a meeting where he was asked to take the post down.
He did so and issued a full apology, saying that he understood his post upset “many people” and that it was “a very serious breach” of the company’s social media policy.
His apology continued: “The post shared is a joke by Billy Connolly and not my personal views. But I recognise how colleagues may think this is my view. As a result I will think very carefully before posting online or saying anything that could be interpreted as hurtful to others.
“I believe this has been a wake-up call and will not be repeated. I would like the opportunity to prove that this post does not reflect who I am.”
But Asda dismissed Brian a month after he was first told to remove the video. He is likely to appeal the decision – though he has vowed not to work at the store again.
He is getting help from the National Secular Society ahead of an employment tribunal, and says he wants Asda to recognise they’re in the wrong.
He said: “An apology would do, or a reinstatement accepting a warning (not dismissal). But with the situation and how it’s gone, it’s untenable for me to work there. It’s going to be going to a tribunal once they’ve heard my appeal. The Secular Society are going to support me.”
The Press contacted Asda for a further comment regarding the separate Instagram post from a colleague at the Dewsbury store but did not receive a response.
A spokesman for the supermarket said last week: “We would never comment on individual circumstances.
“However, we do not tolerate any form of discrimination from colleagues or customers and take such behaviour extremely seriously.”