Jewish lawyer wins more than £26,000 in religious discrimination case

Jewish lawyer wins more than £26,000 in religious discrimination case

March 7, 2022

Jewish lawyer wins more than £26,000 in a religious discrimination case after he was sacked for not coming into work during Passover – but says he HASN’T seen the cash

  • Philip Bialick, 44, booked nine days off for Passover from Manchester office 
  • But he was absent from work in weeks before festival as he was unwell
  • Company sacked him as he did not come into office during Passover 
  • Took them to court and won compensation but says he has not yet been paid 

A Jewish lawyer won more than £26,000 in a religious discrimination case after he was sacked for not coming into work during Passover- but says he has not yet been paid the cash. 

Philip Bialick, 44, a civil litigation specialist, was brought up in the Orthodox faith and observes religious holidays strictly so had booked time off work especially for Passover.

But the solicitor of 26 years was absent from the NNE Law Ltd office in the weeks before the religious festival, as he fell ill, an employment tribunal heard. 

His company, run by two brothers, Ali and Arsam Nazokkar, had a policy preventing staff from being away from work for more than two weeks at a time.

They demanded he return to work on the second day of Passover, even though no work is allowed on the first and final two days of the celebratory period. 

Mr Bialick was forced to email his work during this period and explain that he could not come back into the office as he was observing Passover. The 44-year-old was then fired for failing to come into work. 

Philip Bialick’s (pictured) former employer, run by two brothers, Ali and Arson Nazokkar, had a policy preventing staff from being away from work for more than two weeks at a time. They demanded he return to work on the second day of Passover, even though no work is allowed on the first and final two days of the celebratory period. The 44-year-old was then fired for failing to come into work


Since, Mr Bialick successfully sued his former employers for discrimination during a three-day remote hearing in December and won more than £26,000 in compensation. Pictured: Brothers Ali and Arsam Nazokkhar, who sacked Mr Bialick

Since, Mr Bialick successfully sued his former employers for discrimination during a three-day remote hearing in December and won more than £26,000 in compensation.

But Mr Bialick has now instructed bailiffs – costing him around £4,000 – to enforce the judgement after the solicitors’ firm failed to pay.

Mr Bialick said he was friends with his employers for 12 years and described the situation as ‘heartbreaking.’

He added: ‘I met them through other law firms, through separate firms and at first I did not know the others.

‘They both asked me to work for them which I did for two months and then they treated me like this. 

‘Then they stab me in the back over my religion. They were both Muslim and I was Jewish and we embraced that. People are more embracing of the differences in an office environment.’ 

He said  ‘Since this has happened, they have not paid me and have gone to extreme lengths to avoid paying.

‘They’re about to get shutdown because they have lied to the SRA as they’re no longer at their registered address.’  

The Manchester hearing had heard that Mr Bialick started working at NNE Law Ltd in January 2020 as a litigation executive.  

The 44-year-old had booked nine days off for Passover in February 2020, two months in advance.  

But in March 2020, Mr Bialick became ill, shortly before the first national lockdown.

He was suffering with a bad chest and cough, the panel was told. 

Mr Bialick was previously concerned about coming into the office but had continued to come in because law was considered essential work, the hearing was told.

But he had made requests to work remotely. Mr Bialick contacted the NHS about his illness and they told him to stay at home for two weeks.

But Mr Bialick (pictured) has now instructed bailiffs – costing him around £4,000 – to enforce the judgement after the solicitors’ firm failed to pay

He forwarded his isolation notes to his bosses. His bosses sent him a letter on April 3 but it was second class and did not arrive until April 8- the day before he was due to observe Passover. 

The letter read: ‘You have been off work since 30/03/202 due to self diagnosed flu like symptoms and it seems that your second isolation period will be ending on 08/04/2020, however we note that you have time booked off from 07/04 to 17/04.

‘Due to company policy and our time sensitive nature of work we can no longer authorise this due to this resulting in your time away from the office permitted and the recent Covid 19 Epidemic causing staffing issues.’

Their letter ended by reminding him then he was expected to return to work on April 9, the second day of Passover when work is not permitted. 

The 44-year-old, who did not know about the company policy, then replied that he was still feeling unwell and was celebrating Passover so he did not go into the office on April 9.    

Mr Nazokkar then sent him a dismissal letter that day saying they had been ‘left with no alternative’ but to sack him. 

Mr Bialick (pictured) said he was friends with his employers for 12 years and described the situation as ‘heartbreaking’

Mr Bialick said Ali and Arsam Nazokkar had already decided to sack him before sending the letter.

He said: ‘They actually said in the hearing they had already made their decision to sack me which basically lost their case and won it for me.

‘They had confirmed to the judge that even before they had sent that letter, they had already decided to get rid of me.’ 

Employment Judge Mark Leach concluded at the December hearing: ‘Where Jewish employees wish to take holidays to enable religious observance, they need to book holidays from their unfixed statutory and/or contractual entitlement.

‘The practice of cancelling holidays booked for that purpose or to face dismissal therefore requires Jewish employees to choose whether to work when they are not permitted to work or be dismissed.

‘That places Jewish employees whose faith requires they do not work on certain days at a particular disadvantage when instructed to cancel annual leave.’  

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