Two women who were employed by a care home have succeeded in their Employment Tribunal (ET) claims and been awarded compensation.
Ms Tipple, who is a lesbian, had started working for Gainford Care Homes in September 2010. In May of the following year, she helped the managing director of the company, Imran Kaliq, to move some furniture. Shortly afterwards, one of the owners of the business contacted Ms Tipple's manager, Ms Roe, making reference to Ms Tipple's sexual orientation in a derogatory manner and saying that she 'needs to go'.
This was followed by similar requests to dismiss Ms Tipple because, as she was perceived to be 'butch', she might intimidate residents of the care home. Ms Roe refused all these requests, and made it clear to her employers that to dismiss Ms Tipple because of her sexual orientation would be unlawful.
However, Ms Tipple was eventually dismissed because of alleged threatening behaviour at a social event, her 'attitude towards management' and her sickness record.
When she brought claims against her employers of unfair dismissal and direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the ET found that the reasons given for her dismissal were false, that her dismissal was unfair and that she had been treated less favourably because she is a lesbian. She was awarded compensation for present and future loss of earnings and £8,000 for injury to her feelings.
Ms Roe, who had supported Ms Tipple throughout, brought claims of constructive unfair dismissal and victimisation. Following Ms Tipple's dismissal, she had been subjected to 'appalling treatment' at the hands of her employers, the ET found. Despite 12 years' employment at Gainford Care Homes as a senior manager, her position became impossible and she felt compelled to resign.
The ET upheld her claims and awarded her more than £7,000 for unfair dismissal and £12,000 for injury to her feelings.
Guidance for employers and employees on sexual orientation and the workplace can be found on the website of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service at www.acas.org.uk.
Contact Justin Sadler for advice on any employment law matter you are facing whether as employee or employer.