Gay UK diplomat wins landmark case after he was fired when he took adoptive leave

A gay diplomat has won a landmark case after he was dismissed from his job when he sought adoptive leave.

Richard Porter, who was posted to Sao Paolo to work as a diplomat for the Department of Trade, was fired after just 19 weeks when he requested leave to look after his newly adopted son.

The trial, which is believed to be the first of its kind, saw the diplomat awarded £50,000 after being dismissed from his job due to adoption leave.

According to the Employment Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), employees who request or take adoption leave are protected against suffering a detriment or unfair dismissal.

They have a right to return to the same job after 26 weeks adoption leave and after 52 weeks a suitable alternative job must be found.

“I am delighted that the three judges at the Employment Tribunal have ruled that I was fired from my job in Brazil, because I took adoption leave,” said Porter.

“The last year has been extremely successful for me and my family, and I am absolutely delighted that the tribunal upheld my complaint. This case was made all the more stressful by the Department for International Trade’s failure to disclose relevant documents in a timely manner, as commented on by Judge Goodman.”

Porter, who has now taken a new role as the Department as Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Thailand, hopes that the case will ensure “the same mistakes are not made again”.

“I hope that lessons can be learned about the responsibilities of employers towards employees on adoption leave and that the same mistakes are not made again.

Bonding with a newly adopted child is a precious family moment, and the Department for International Trade, with their actions, turned what should have been a very special time into a nightmare,” he added.

Qualifying employees who have been matched with a child may take up to 52 weeks adoption leave, and may be entitled to 39 weeks of statutory adoption pay, say ACAS.

If a couple jointly adopt a child, one may take adoption leave and the other parent may be able to take paternity leave or shared parental leave.