AN EMPLOYEE at 99p Stores claims he has been victimised because of his nationality and treated like a "slave".
Ben Chaney, 20, of Humber Road, Witham, claims that since he started working at the shop five-and-a-half months ago, he has been called "lazy" and "sleepy" and given the worst jobs to do because he is English.
His claims come two weeks after the Chronicle revealed how a job applicant was allegedly told by the same store that it didn't employ English people because they're unreliable.
Of all the employees at the Newlands Street shop in Witham, Ben says he is one of three English-born workers out of a roster of eight, one of whom has only started in the last week.
He said: "I get treated like a slave. It's an awful place to work. 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," he added.
Ben's claims come after 21-year-old Toni Sargeant said she was told by the store manager that he does not employ English people because they are unreliable and can't understand foreign accents.
Ben said he has received no official training in tills, stock or health and safety procedures for the first five months of his employment and that he has never been given a contract to sign.
He added: "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.
"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.
"But it wasn't until I complained that I was showed the health and safety procedure and how to lift boxes.
"There's other problems as well – some boxes fell on me because they weren't stacked properly."
In grievance proceedings only hours before Toni made her job application, Ben detailed his problems and there was a reconciliation meeting.
But he says nothing has changed and he continues to feel ostracised.
A spokesman for the 99p Store 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 and slanderous 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."