A gay man has won damages from a Southend-on-Sea locksmith, after one of its employees subjected him to ‘gay gestures’ which were meant to be derogatory.
BBC news reports that, after a minor disagreement, in late 2013, over a refund, the man was subjected to sarcastic and lewd gestures by one particular employee each time he walked past the shop, for months afterwards.
He brought an action against the shop, alleging discrimination under the Equality Act, which prevents anyone supplying goods and services from discriminating against customers on a variety of grounds, including race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. The judge agreed discrimination had taken place and awarded him £7,500 damages.
Employers are responsible for the behaviour of their workforce in both words and gestures. And that’s what is ground breaking about this case. The discrimination was entirely non-verbal. It was just gestures.