Bartender fired for telling colleague God might ‘forgive’ her on Pride weekend

Wetherspoons dismissal case

A bartender was fired from Wetherspoons after telling a lesbian colleague that maybe God would “forgive” her.

Thomas Richardson was dismissed by the pub and hotel chain for gross misconduct in August 2022 after he spoke to a female colleague on Pride Weekend about whether or not God would “forgive” gay people.

Richardson, who was 21 at the time, attempted to sue Wetherspoons for his dismissal on the grounds of discrimination.

According to court documents, the former bartender had said that he didn’t want “the gay thing shoved down [his] throat.”

Wetherspoons Norwich
A bartender was fired from a Wetherspoons pub for gross misconduct after telling a co-worker that God might “forgive” her for being a lesbian. (Getty Images)

During the hearing, the court heard how Richardson told his colleague: “God would not forgive gay people.”

When his colleague asked him: “Why do I have to apologise for being gay?”, he responded: “Maybe God will forgive you.”

You may like to watch

Documents also note that Richardson had regularly made what he calls “anti-woke” posts to social media.

In some posts, Richardson complained about the Black Lives Matter movement, describing it as a Marxist terrorist organisation that supports Black supremacy. Elsewhere, he compared the movement to Nazi Germany.

Posts calling for Islam to be banned were also found on his social media, though Richardson denied those posts were written by him.

As a result of Richardson’s comments to his colleague and his social media posts, he was dismissed without notice on the grounds of gross misconduct.

In response, Richardson attempted to sue Wetherspoons for discrimination on the grounds of disability and on the grounds of religious belief. 

During proceedings, the court heard that Richardson, who is autistic, was generally a “good worker” at The Queen of Iceni pub in Norwich, and he had “got on well” with everyone up until this incident.

Eventually, Judge Martin Warren ruled that the former bartender had, in fact, been guilty of gross misconduct, and that his dismissal was reasonable.

“Telling somebody that God will forgive them, (or not) for being gay is harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation,” he stated.

“It is unwanted conduct that can reasonably be perceived as creating the proscribed environment. The same may be said of the comment to the effect that one does not want Gay Pride rammed down one’s throat.

“One cannot simply ask employees to ignore homophobic insults because the person saying them is autistic.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.