Celeste Shirley, a 16-year-old A-level student at Richmond College in London, was sacked in July from her part-time job at the chain's Chiswick store. She was accused of credit card fraud following eight queries by customers over transactions made on her till. Ms Shirley, from Acton in west London, who is black, is claiming discrimination and wrongful dismissal.
The tribunal in central London was yesterday told by Ms Shirley's counsel, Gazi Khan, that white staff under similar suspicion were not disciplined.
Jason Galbraith, for Sainsbury's, said the suggestion was "outrageous" and added: "That simply is not the case."
Mr Khan said: "There is a strong comparison in the action taken against white people and black employees." Tribunal chairman Michael Rabin asked whether he truly meant what he said. "White people are at liberty to defraud and steal from Sainsbury's because they will not take action - is that what you are suggesting?" he asked. "That is quite an extraordinary statement."
The tribunal was adjourned until April.Reuse content