A joke too far?

In a recent Employment Tribunal, a lesbian worker was able to claim discrimination on the basis that her employer and fellow colleagues had made crude comments to her because of her sexual orientation.

The Employee was awarded £7500 in damages because her Employer had subjected her to watching pornography and questioned her about her sex life. Such actions would take place when she was the only female worker on shift.

The Tribunal held that such actions were discriminatory based on the employee sexual orientation, as other heterosexual employees were not subject to the same treatment. This was despite the Employers defence, that the workplace was filled with ‘a culture of banter’. The Tribunal held that such ‘banter was not acceptable conduct in a workplace. It is therefore always key to draw a large distinction between what is, and what isn’t acceptable within the workplace.

Published: 03 Mar 2014

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