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Sainsbury’s worker, 52, sacked after picking up a cuddly toy and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’

Sainsburys worker 52 sacked after picking up a cuddly toy


Sainsbury’s worker, 52, sacked from her 28-year career after picking up a cuddly toy and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ is awarded compensation

  • Marian Cunnington, 52, picked up a ‘Bing’ toy at store in Bridgnorth, Shropshire
  • Made the comment: ‘Should we really be selling this toy? Black Lives Matter’ 
  • Price controller Ms Cunnington was suspended that same day in June
  •  Judge ruled Ms Cunnington was unfairly dismissed and she will receive a payout










A Sainsbury’s worker who was sacked from her job of 28-years after picking up a cuddly toy and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ has been awarded compensation.

Marian Cunnington, 52, picked up a ‘Bing’ toy – from the leading BBC children’s cartoon of the same name – while making price changes at the store in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

While holding it she made the comment ‘should we really be selling this toy? Black Lives Matter’ in June last year, the tribunal heard.

Price controller Ms Cunnington was suspended that same day and – despite explaining to bosses that she was ‘standing up for BLM’ – the mother-of-one was fired for gross misconduct on July 2.

Marian Cunnington, 52, (pictured) picked up a 'Bing' toy - from the leading BBC children's cartoon of the same name - while making price changes at the store in Bridgnorth, Shropshire

While holding it Ms Cunnington (pictured) made the comment 'should we really be selling this toy? Black Lives Matter' in June last year, the tribunal heard

Marian Cunnington, 52, (pictured) picked up a ‘Bing’ toy – from the leading BBC children’s cartoon of the same name – while making price changes at the store in Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Price controller Ms Cunnington was suspended that same day and - despite explaining to bosses that she was 'standing up for BLM' - the mother-of-one was fired for gross misconduct on July 2. Pictured: Cartoon rabbit 'Bing' (right) which the toy was based off

Price controller Ms Cunnington was suspended that same day and – despite explaining to bosses that she was ‘standing up for BLM’ – the mother-of-one was fired for gross misconduct on July 2. Pictured: Cartoon rabbit ‘Bing’ (right) which the toy was based off

But a judge ruled Ms Cunnington was unfairly dismissed after the manager who fired her could not justify why the words she said were offensive.

Judge Richardson told the Birmingham Employment Tribunal that ‘sensitivities were heightened’ at the time, as Ms Cunnington’s comments were made days after the death of George Floyd in the US.

Ms Cunnington told the Mirror: ‘I’m not a racist and I’m a really good worker. 

‘When you have worked for a company for that long, to have it all ripped away and leave under such circumstances.’

Price controller Ms Cunnington (pictured) was suspended that same day and - despite explaining to bosses that she was 'standing up for BLM' - the mother-of-one was fired for gross misconduct on July 2

Price controller Ms Cunnington (pictured) was suspended that same day and – despite explaining to bosses that she was ‘standing up for BLM’ – the mother-of-one was fired for gross misconduct on July 2

Ms Cunnington – who has won awards for her work at the Sainsbury’s store – said she felt the toy could be offensive to black people, just as the Robertson’s jam mascot was.

The co-worker who made the complaint against Ms Cunnington thought she heard her say: ‘I’m offended Black Lives Matter?’.

She lodged an initial appeal after being fired on July 2, but this was unsuccessful.

Following the tribunal’s ruling, Ms Cunnington will receive an undisclosed payout from Sainsbury’s. 

MailOnline has approached Sainsbury’s for comment.

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