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A shop worker says he has been discriminated against at work and accused of being lazy just because he is English.

Ben Chaney, 20, claims that the manager of the pound shop where he has worked for six months treats him like a ‘slave’ and sometimes refuses to speak English to him.

99p Stores is now investigating the alleged discrimination, which is the second time in recent weeks that claims of ill-treatment at the company have emerged.

Mr Chaney says that he is one of just three English-born members of staff at the discount retailer’s branch in Witham, Essex, out of a total of eight.

‘I get treated like a slave,’ he said. ‘The manager is very rude, not just to staff but to customers as well – he’s always shouting on the shop floor.


‘He keeps saying English people are lazy. If he’s got a problem with me, he doesn’t tell me off in English, he does it in his own language so I can’t understand him.

‘The non-English staff are allowed to do what they want. They chat on the tills and take breaks when they want, but I get shouted at if I do the slightest thing wrong.’

The young worker also alleged that he was told he was lazy for turning down shifts even when he had a legitimate excuse.

‘I don’t have set hours so they tell me at short notice when I’m working, and if I say I can’t do weekends they say I’m lazy or that I’m sleepy and I get threatened with the sack,’ Mr Chaney said.

‘When I was off with a back injury my boss tried to say it was an unauthorised absence. When I do complain or do something wrong I get shouted at and my hours are cut back.’

Last month, 21-year-old Toni Sergeant said she was refused a job at the same branch because the manager told her English workers were unreliable.

He later insisted he had been misunderstood, but said that English employees were more likely to quit because they are ‘sleeping’.

In response to Mr Chaney’s allegations, a spokesman for 99p Stores said: ‘We 100 per cent refute these allegations. We have investigated the matter relating to Toni Sargeant and are 100 per cent that this is not what was said.

‘We believe this is due to a disgruntled employee who is spreading malicious rumours about our store management team.

‘We have an equal opportunity employment policy and an investigation is still continuing. Therefore we cannot comment any further.’

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