A WOMAN says that she suffered discrimination on the grounds of her disability while working as a warehouse operative for fashion retailer Boohoo.
Jessica Wall, 26 from Burnley, is a freelance model who says that while employed as an agency worker at the company’s Burnley distribution centre she was given no support after revealing that she has a learning disability, and that she was eventually let go with no satisfactory explanation given.
Ms Wall began working for at the centre at the start of October but found that despite her disability she was required to work 12 hour shifts, complete 60 packaging returns per minute after just one day of training, was not allowed to move around freely or to take regular enough toilet breaks and was ultimately let go after just a month in the job.
She said: “Whilst working there I was struggling and mentioned in my training I had a learning disability.
“I told them a few times and even went over on my break to try and sort it, however I was told that if I didn’t improve, I would lose my job.
“I thought how’s that fair? They never helped me or made any adjustments for me and a few weeks after I started I got a phone call saying they did not want me anymore and they sacked me.”
Ms Wall enlisted the help of her father when confronting company managers and was further outraged when Staffline, the agency employed by Boohoo, tried to prevent him from attending meetings.
She said: “I went in the next day and my dad joined me for support, but the company tried to ask my dad to leave but he said he definitely wasn’t moving as under the equality act I can have support!”
She added: “They were rude and did nothing, so we finally made a move and reported them to ACAS and they took the case on straight away!
“Boohoo have discriminated against me for having a disability and could not be bothered trying to sort it!”
The company meanwhile says that since Ms Wall was an agency worker, her experience is not their responsibility but that they will work to try to address her concerns.
A spokesperson said: “We’ve spoken to the agency to better understand what happened and will be reaching out to Jessica to hear her concerns and resolve this directly.
“We are extremely proud of our colleague engagement and very diverse team at Burnley and Jessica’s experience does not reflect our values in any way.”
This is the latest controversy to have rocked the company this year, with a report released by Boohoo in September admitting that they had profited from ‘sweat shop’ conditions overseen by its suppliers in Leicester where some workers paid as little as £3.50 an hour.
The company claims to have been unaware of these conditions.
However, in a further blow to the firm’s reputation, Boohoo executives were forced in November to appear before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee in parliament to deny that its international supply chains profited from forced labour carried out by Uighur Muslims interned in re-education camps in China.