Kingston-based company at centre of race row hit back at discrimination allegations


Jani-King, who deny firing two workers for being ‘British’, met with MP Henry Smith yesterday.


A Kingston-based company at the centre of a race employment debate has hit back at allegations of discrimination – although the row shows no signs of resolution.
Conservative MP Henry Smith (pictured right) claimed last week that two of his constituents were sacked by cleaning company Jani-King for ‘being British’.
Grandmother Stella Judge, 57, insists she was sacked after just two months in her £6.50- an-hour job as head housekeeper at the Gatwick Travelodge because she refused to falsify employees’ timesheets.
Friend Sarah Pritchard alleges she was made redundant from her £6-an-hour supervisor position at the hotel after the company said it did not have the money to keep her, only to offer her position to a Bulgarian cleaner a few days later.
Representatives from Jani-King, which employs more than 1,200 people in the UK and strenuously denies the allegations, held a meeting with Mr Smith yesterday.
And they admitted regret at their initial correspondence with the Crawley MP, who claimed their tone was ‘aggressive’ and ‘threatening’ when he first raised the issue on behalf of his constituents.
“We’re very happy with our meeting with Mr Smith,” said a Jani-King spokesman.  
“We have shared internal and formal documents to show that the dismissals of Ms Judge and Ms Pritchard were not for matters of race and to prove that every fair and standard process was followed.  
“In fact we can confirm that during the the redundancy process of Ms Pritchard she was offered alternative employment with Jani-King and chose not to accept. 
“We can also confirm that the successor to Ms Judge is British. 
“Jani-King is proud to be an equal opportunities employer and we are pleased to have been able to prove this today.  
“We hope our name can now be cleared of the extremely damaging accusations that were made in parliament last week. 
“It is not right for a business to be at the centre of unfounded allegations.  On a further level, no existing tribunal documentation filed against Jani-King supports the claim that race was, or is, a reason for dismissal.  
“We regret the miscommunication of these facts to Henry Smith MP.”
However, Miss Judge claimed she would continue to pursue her legal challenge for unfair dismissal and thanked Mr Smith for raising the profile of her case.
She claims to have documentation that proves her allegations.
“As a woman of a certain age, I can’t get another job because there’s nothing out there. Jani-King have wrecked my life,” she told SW Londoner.
“At the end of the day it is discrimination. I was threatened, victimised and bullied by the manager.
“I trust our MP and I have a lot of respect for him. 
“Henry has been our boy. I cannot praise him enough.”

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