A firefighter lost his job after calling a gay work colleague “Arthur”.
Firefighter lost his job after calling gay colleague “Arthur”: He was told the name has homophobic connotations. The defendant, Philip Staines, called John Metcalfe “Arthur” due to his diminutive size. However Metcalfe took it as an afront to his sexuality. An employment tribunal heard that another colleague asked Staines why he had used that name, meaning ‘half a man’, he replied “well, I can’t call him Stumpy of Dwarf.”
Staines denies that he was being homophobic. Jonathan Dyson, the Area Manager where Staines worked, decided to fire him after hearing he also made derogatory comments to a female employee. Dyson said it was in breach of the code of conduct. Staines later started an claim for unfair dismissal after losing an appeal. Judge Buckley, a specialist in employment law, ruled it was “reasonable” for Mr Metcalfe to assume the comment was derogatory against his sexuality.
She said “It appears obvious to me that ‘half a man’ might be interpreted by a gay man as an offensive comment on their sexual orientation. In my view Mr Staines ought also to have appreciated that.” The tribunal dismissed his claim of unfair dismissal with Judge Buckley adding “In my view, the conduct was certainly sufficient serious to merit dismissal with notice because the claimant was under a final written warning, but I find that the respondent was not entitled to dismiss the claimant without notice.”
The tribunal awarded Mr Staines his notice pay plus 10 per cent for breach of contract.
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