News Irish News

Monday 18 March 2019

Ex-Tesco worker denies threatening to kill colleague and place her head on store roof

Woman ‘refused request for visa marriage’, tribunal told

Former Tesco worker Yasir Azad, who appeared at the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former Tesco worker Yasir Azad, who appeared at the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

She said she only made a formal complaint to management against him after she read derogatory comments about her posted on what she believed was his Facebook page

A TESCO shelf-stacker allegedly threatened to behead his colleague and put her head on the store roof after she repeatedly turned down his offers of cash for a scam marriage, an Employment Appeals Tribunal heard yesterday.

But Yasir Azad (28), an accountancy student originally from Pakistan, claims he was unfairly dismissed by the supermarket giant over what he claims are "contrived allegations" against him.

The tribunal heard evidence from two Polish co-workers yesterday, who claim that Mr Azad, who has lived in Dublin for several years, offered each of them thousands of euro in exchange for a "paper marriage" that would allow him to get an Irish work visa since his student visa was due to expire.

Rachael Garton, who at the time was the store manager at the Tesco store in Sandymount, south Dublin, testified that two female employees complained to her of feeling "very frightened and distressed" by the threats of violence allegedly made by Mr Azad. He had worked alongside the women on the night shift at the store.

She alleged he made the threats after both workers turned down his offers of marriage in exchange for between €8,000 and €10,000 "because his visa was running out".

Tesco worker Kasia Nowacka, who was Mr Azad's line manager on the night shift, told the tribunal that Mr Azad asked her about three or four times if she would marry him for money, including twice on the same night in October 2009.

He first offered about €8,000 and then increased the offers to between €10,000 and €15,000, she said.

After she refused the offers, he "started to be really rude" and refused to do tasks that she asked him to complete, she said.

Asked if she would work with him again, she said: "No. He's scaring me. He scared me before."

However, during cross examination by Mr Azad's counsel Oisin Scollard, she said she only made a formal complaint to management against him after she read derogatory comments about her posted on what she believed was his Facebook page.

"I was really angry after I saw what he wrote," she said.

Her colleague Liga Mikalauska testified that Mr Azad told her he would like to "cut off Kasia's head and put it on the roof". On another occasion after a jar of beetroot broke on the floor, Mr Azad made a reference to the blood-like appearance of the juice and said he'd "like to spill Kasia's blood," in the same way, she said.

She also claimed that Mr Azad asked her to marry him in exchange for between €3,000 and €5,000 but she refused.

She could not tell the tribunal, however, why she didn't go to the gardai with her complaints.

Stupid

Ms Garton, meanwhile, testified that she called Mr Azad to a meeting on April 10, 2010, after another employee, whom she admitted was her brother, showed her a link to a Facebook page believed to be Mr Azad's, which he had allegedly sent him. The page included a photo of her with a caption that read: "She is stupid, twice as ugly, but she's a manager."

Ms Garton said she had no idea how the photo got on to the Facebook page but she believes it was taken at a staff Christmas party. "He (Mr Azad) was asked if he had set it up and he denied it," she said.

She said that Mr Azad was then summoned to a disciplinary hearing over the allegations on April 13, 2010, in which he was suspended on full pay pending an investigation.

Asked under cross-examination why she didn't refer the alleged death threats and fraudulent marriage proposals to gardai, Ms Garton responded that it is company policy to deal with such issues internally.

"An alleged death threat? Is that an internal matter?" Mr Scollard asked.

The hearing has been adjourned until June 7.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News