Gay man wins graffiti discrimination claim

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A gay man who was suspended from a food manufacturing company after complaining about homophobic and pornographic graffiti has won a claim of constructive dismissal against his former employer.

Chris Martin, a quality assurance assistant at Parkam Foods, a national poultry supplier, complained to his managers in May 2005 after finding offensive pornographic graffiti in the men’s toilets, in what his lawyers are calling just one of a number of complaints against the company based on sexual harassment and discrimination laws.

The tribunal heard that bosses placed a warning in the toilets about graffiti but didn’t mention homophobia, Mr Martin said he was treated like “a piece of dirt” when he kept complaining.

He was suspended in November 2005 but resigned in protest at his treatment after the employee who he felt was instigating the treatment was not reprimanded.

The tribunal called the drawing “offensive and homophobic” and accused Parkam Foods Ltd’s personal administrator of a “transparent attempt to exploit his (Chris Martin’s) sexual orientation.”

The judgement concluded that Parkam Foods did not deal with Mr Martin’s grievances adequately enough under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.