We successfully represented a family-owned company in their defence of an employment tribunal for sexual orientation discrimination.
The employee in question was a gay male who had resigned and, following his resignation, claimed that he had left because of homophobic verbal abuse and harassment by his line manager. The manager admitted in evidence that he had used many of the words alleged by the claimant.
However, throughout a 4-day trial in May 2022, we were successful in persuading the employment judge that the apparent homophobic comments were not “unwanted”. Therefore, they were not unlawful as defined by the Equality Act 2010 regarding harassment. We presented evidence that the claimant had actively participated in and encouraged such “banter”, and it therefore did not have the effect of creating a hostile and intimidating working environment for him.
We secured a dismissal of the financial claims against our client meaning that they did not have to pay out.
In addition, we were able to limit the damage to the company’s reputation that they would have suffered if they had been found to have engaged in workplace discrimination.