Food delivery platform Zomato on Tuesday apologised to a customer from Tamil Nadu who had alleged that a customer care agent refused to provide him a refund on his order for not knowing Hindi. Zomato also said it had sacked the employee.

In screenshots of messages tweeted by the customer, Vikash, the agent could be seen saying that everybody should know Hindi. The agent also claimed that Hindi was India’s national language.

On Monday, Vikash had asked a Zomato customer care agent on redressal chat to find out the reason for a missing item in his order. The Zomato employee said that she was unable to communicate with the restaurant staff due to “language barrier”.

When Vikash said that Zomato should have hired Tamil-speaking employees and demanded a refund, the Zomato employee said: “For your kind information Hindi is our national language. So it is very common that everybody should know Hindi a little bit.”

On Tuesday, Vikash posted screenshots of the chat on Twitter.

“Customer care says amount can’t be refunded as I didn’t know Hindi. Also takes lessons that being an Indian I should know Hindi. Tagged me a liar as he didn’t know Tamil. Zomato not the way you talk to a customer.”

Zomato, in its apology on Tuesday, said that the employee’s statement did not reflect the company’s stance towards language and diversity. The online food aggregator assured the customer that a call centre with Tamil-speaking employees will be built soon.

In response, Zomato apologised to Vikash. In a statement issued in Tamil and English, the company said that it stood for diversity.

Zomato added that it was building a Tamil version of its mobile app and that it had already localised its marketing communication in the local language in the state.

About sacking the employee, Zomato said, “The termination is in line with our protocols and (the) agent’s behaviour was clearly against the principles of sensitivity that we train our agents for on a regular basis.”

However, in a series of tweets later on Tuesday, Zomato founder and Chief Executive Officer Deepinder Goyal said that the company would reinstate the employee.

“This alone is not something she should have been fired for,” Goyal said. “This is easily something she can learn and do better about going forward.”

Goyal was also critical of the social media outrage on the matter.

“An ignorant mistake by someone in a support centre of a food delivery company became a national issue,” he said in a tweet. “The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays. Who’s to be blamed here?

Social media users have pointed out that the customer had not asked for the employee to be sacked.