UKIP supporting Brighton binman accused of anti-gay sea shanty loses dismissal claim
A Brighton binman accused of writing anti-gay comments on a staff poster and of changing the words of a sea shanty to make a homophobic joke about a poop deck has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.
The London South Employment Tribunal in Croydon yesterday upheld Brighton and Hove City Council’s decision to sack Des Jones.
The 65-year-old was dismissed by council-run Cityclean in August last year and believes his status as a UKIP member was a factor in the allegations surfacing.
Mr Jones first began work as a Brighton refuge collector in 1975.
He claims the stress brought on from the accusations led him to contemplate suicide.
Mr Jones was seeking £20,000 in lost wages and bonuses as well as recovering his full pension entitlement.
But employment tribunal chairman Michael Zuke ruled that Brighton and Hove City Council took the “reasonable response of a responsible employer” when they dismissed Mr Jones after allegations of homophobic comments towards a colleague.
The former merchant seaman denied changing the words of a sea shanty to make a homophobic joke about a poop deck.
The Argus reports he said: “I survived a fire on a ship and I might have said that the emergency steering gear was situated on the poop deck. I didn’t put that into a sea shanty.”
Mr Jones claimed the employee who made the complaint, named as ‘TW’, also used offensive language.
He said: “Mr TW is a person who uses colourful language all the time. He uses more colourful language than I do.”
The ex-binman added: “I have worked with people who are homosexual and got on with them, worked with black people and got on fine.”
The two-day hearing is expected to cost taxpayers in Brighton and Hove thousands of pounds after the judge declined to award costs to the council.
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