Straight man taunted for being gay backed by EHRC

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission has taken up the case of a 56-year-old married man who was repeatedly taunted at work about being gay because he lives in Brighton.

An employment tribunal and an appeal tribunal have both rejected his claims of sexual discrimination.

Stephen English suffered years of abuse and insinuation from colleagues at Thomas Sanderson Blinds, based near Portsmouth, where he had worked in sales.

His ordeal started when a colleague discovered he had been at boarding school and lives in Brighton, a city with a large gay population.

“It became obvious to me that he had shared his views with numerous colleagues,” Mr English told the tribunal, according to the Daily Mail.

“I regularly had to endure remarks such as ‘faggot’ at national sales meetings, team meetings at my home and regional managers’ meetings.

“These comments caused considerable distress both to myself and to my family, who were at home on occasions when I held team meetings and overheard comments referring to my perceived sexual orientation.

“To a large extent I went along with the comments as being part of the banter which one has to endure as a result of working with extrovert sales people.

“However, I gradually grew more and more upset and worn-down by them particularly as my daughters were now teenagers and very impressionable.”

Now the EHRC are to pay for his case to go to the Court of Appeal

“Currently it is unclear whether those in situations similar to Mr English’s benefit from the protection of the law,” an EHRC spokesperson told the Mail.

“A positive ruling would help a wide range of individuals who have suffered harassment based on out-of-date stereotypes.

“This is a case about fair treatment in the work-place. Would you like your mother, or your brother or your best friend to be treated in the way Mr English alleges?”

The EHRC is designed to promote a fair, equal and diverse society and tackling illegal discrimination.

It was established by the Equality Act 2006 and began work in October 2007.

It brought together the three existing UK equality commissions – the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission.

The EHRC incorporates three new human rights strands – age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.