We are extremely delighted by the Employment Tribunal’s decision to uphold Stephen’s case. Stephen, as well as many other service users of our Helpline, is a clear example of how you can still be discriminated against simply for being gay.
This case particularly showed that, regardless of whether people want to “come out” or not, simply ignoring that people can be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, as well as heterosexual, is not acceptable. It also shows that once a grievance is raised, employers have a responsibility to investigate it as a potential case of unlawful discrimination or harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The Presbyterian Church of Wales failed to both acknowledge Stephen’s claim and to investigate his allegations accurately. The Employment Tribunal’s judgement described some of the behaviour that Stephen had to endure as grotesque and inappropriate. This should be a reminder that people can still carry prejudice and bias regardless of having a religious background or faith. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is unlawful and must be addressed. It is as simple as that.
We urge people to contact us to tell us their experience and to get advice and representation if they feel that they have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Only through raising the issues that people still face, can we really raise awareness around what still goes on in the discrimination closet!