Contractor loses out on his 'dream' £1,000-a-week IT role after unwittingly saying he would treat his Muslim recruiter to a bacon sandwich
by Simon Murphy
An IT contractor was accused of racism and refused a £1,000-a-week NHS job after innocently offering to buy an Asian recruitment consultant a bacon sandwich.
Clive Hunt, 58, had already been given the eight-month contract – worth £32,000 – and was invited to recruitment firm Reed's office in Manchester to show his passport and provide bank details.
At the end of the 15-minute meeting earlier this month, recruitment consultant Sharika Sacranie, 29, shook Mr Hunt's hand and said she would come and meet him for breakfast the following week, to which he replied: 'I'll get the bacon sandwiches in.'
Clive Hunt, 58, says he was offered the IT job by recruitment firm Reed before a senior manager phoned him to say his offer of a bacon sandwich to a recruiter was racist
Mr Hunt made the comment to Reed recruiter Sharika Sacranie
Miss Sacranie – who is believed to be a Muslim – rang Mr Hunt half an hour later to confirm a few more details, making no mention of the incident.
However, just ten minutes later Mr Hunt received another call from a senior manager at Reed accusing him of making a racist comment and saying the job offer had been withdrawn.
Last night, Mr Hunt told The Mail on Sunday: 'I just can't believe it. I'm not a racist and I only offered to buy her a bacon sandwich because she said she was coming for breakfast. It was an off-the-cuff comment.
'I was at the top of the stairs ready to leave and Sharika said, "I'll buy everybody breakfast either Monday or Tuesday next week." I turned around and said, "I'll get the bacon sandwiches in."
'There's nothing racist about it. There was no slur at her because I'd already met all the contractors on site before and one of them had actually told me they had really good bacon sandwiches.
'I don't even know whether Sharika is a Muslim or not. I'd never met her before that day but we got on fine.
'When the manager rang me up to accuse me of making a racist remark, he just kept telling me I should admit to my wrongdoing. But eventually I got so exasperated that I told him to "sod off" and put the phone down.'
Clive Hunt says he lost out on a £1,000-a-month NHS contract when a Reed recruiter complained he made a racist remark
He added: 'I've been out of work for two months so this is a massive blow for me. I was under the impression that the agency was just a middle man. How can it rescind an offer that was made to me by the NHS?'
Miss Sacranie could not be reached for comment yesterday. In a statement, Reed said: 'Due to inappropriate comments made to members of our staff during the recruitment process before Mr Hunt started his new role, we do not feel we can represent this candidate further.'
An NHS spokesperson was unavailable for comment last night.
Mr Hunt claims he made the offer of a bacon sandwich when Ms Sacranie said she would make an on-site visit and take him and other contractors for breakfast
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