Stena Line granted appeal over homophobic abuse case

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A Belfast dock worker awarded £45,000 compensation after being sacked for reacting to alleged homophobic comments is to have his case decided again.

Martin Sheil, 51, was dismissed for gross misconduct in December 2012 after more than 10 years’ of service with Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries.

His sacking followed an incident the previous month in which he allegedly reacted to taunting from a colleague about his personal life and sexual orientation.

In May this year, Mr Sheil was awarded £37,500 for unfair dismissal and a further £7,500 for unlawful harassment.

Mr Sheil was supported by the Northern Ireland Equality Commission in bringing his case.

But yesterday senior judges granted Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries an appeal against the previous ruling.

They ordered a new hearing in front of a different panel.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast declared that a flaw identified in the investigatory and disciplinary process was not properly backed up.

The judge added that the question of whether Mr Sheil was subjected to homophobic comments is likely to remain “a live issue”.

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