Sexual orientation discrimination
This week's case of the week, provided by DLA Piper, covers sexual orientation discrimination.
This decision is a reminder to employers and employees that it is possible for a heterosexual employee to be subjected to sexual orientation discrimination, even if the harasser knows that the employee is not gay.
David Malamatenios and Georgina Kyriacou are partners, and Krishna Santra, Colin Makin and Sandra Martins are associates at Colman Coyle Solicitors. They round up the latest rulings.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that a gay barrister was discriminated against when he discovered a memorandum that made derogatory comments about his sexual orientation.
The Court of Appeal has held that a gay employee, who had revealed his sexual orientation at his previous office, was not discriminated against at his new office when his manager mentioned his sexual orientation to, and in front of, colleagues.
This case is a good example of inappropriate workplace behaviour that is tolerated by employers, but which constitutes unlawful discrimination.
An employee claiming discrimination must first prove facts from which the tribunal could conclude, in the absence of an adequate explanation, that discrimination took place, as this case demonstrates.
Discrimination can occur even when a comment is in writing and discovered by an employee a long time after the comment was written down, as this case illustrates.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employer discriminated against a gay employee when it implemented a re-positioning policy, for a pub, that discriminated against gay customers.
In this case, an employment tribunal found that a gay employee was harassed at a workplace event that he could not opt out of and that lent itself to banter of a sexual nature that could easily offend.
Employment law cases: HR and legal information and guidance relating to sexual orientation discrimination.
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