Case study: Redmans wins settlement of £13,000 for client in sexual orientation discrimination case
How Chris Hadrill successfully represented a client in his claim for sexual orientation discrimination in the Employment Tribunal on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and secured a settlement of £13,000 at the court door.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employees can make a claim to the Employment Tribual if they believe that they have been discriminated against, harassed or victimized because of their race (or any other ‘protected characteristic’). Potential claims include the following:
- Section 13 Equality Act 2010 – to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for direct religious belief discrimination if they believe that they have been treated less favourably because of their religious beliefs (“direct religious belief discrimination”)
- Section 19 Equality Act 2010 – to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for indirect religious belief discrimination if they believe that they have been discriminated against by a practice, criterion or provision of their employer’s (“indirect religious belief discrimination”)
- Section 26(1) Equality Act 2010 – to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for religious belief-related harassment if they believe that they have been subjected to unwanted conduct related to their (or another person’s) religious beliefs which has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work environment or humiliating them
- Section 27 Equality Act 2010 – to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for victimization if they believe that they have been subjected to a detriment because they have, for example, threatened to make a claim for religious belief discrimination to the Employment Tribunal
Norman (not his real name) worked for a specialist staff agency (“the Staff Agency”). Norman was (and is) homosexual, and he had not publicly ‘come out’ as such (although he had disclosed this to some select colleagues at work, he had not disclosed his sexual orientation to all colleagues).
Mrs X was the owner and sole director of the Staff Agency. She was also Norman’s line manager. Mrs X discovered that Norman was gay and he felt awkward about lying to her, so told her that he was. Mrs X subsequently informed her colleagues that she was “furious” about Norman’s sexual orientation and “disappointed” that she had employed him (because of his sexual orientation).
The situation subsequently deteriorated at work for Norman, with a number of responsibilities removed from him and deductions being made from his wages. Colleagues also did ‘stereotypical’ imitations of Norman, speaking in a high voice in his presence and doing a ‘limp wrist’ gesture.
Norman complained to Mrs X about the detriments he had been subjected to and alleged that he was being discriminated against because of his sexual orientation. Mrs X responded by informing Norman in a face-to-face meeting that the contents of his grievance was “nonsense” and “lies”, and that he had “problems in his head”.
After a few more weeks Norman felt that he could not continue to work at the Staff Agency any more and resigned. He submitted a letter outlining that he was resigning and why he was resigning.
What we did
Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, spoke to Norman about his case and informed Norman was able to offer ‘no win no fee’ representation to him for an Employment Tribunal claim.
Chris helped Norman to file an Employment Tribunal claim against the Staff Agency and Mrs X, bringing claims for direct sexual orientation discrimination, sexual orientation-related harassment, victimisation, and wrongful dismissal. He sought compensation for loss of earnings, injury to feelings, aggravated damages, and personal injury.
Norman’s former employer did not make a reasonable offer of settlement during his case, and the case came to the start of the first morning of the Employment Tribunal hearing. On the first morning Chris negotiated a settlement offer of £13,000 with the other side, with Chris drafting the terms of the settlement agreement.
Chris Hadrill, the employment solicitor who represented Norman in his matter, made the following comment on the case: “It was a pleasure to represent the client in this matter, and we were delighted with the outcome – employers must make sure that they treat workers equally and that they do not discriminate against workers because of a protected characteristic.”