Michael Austin’s colleagues were football fans. The employment tribunal heard that some of them considered men who don’t like football to be gay.

Mr Austin was interested in art. When he spoke about a documentary on Salvador Dali, his colleagues said it was ‘further evidence of his homosexuality’. He was upset and went for a tea break to clear his head. However, when he returned to his desk, he saw that porn had been put on his computer.

Many of Mr Austin’s colleagues were Jehovah’s Witnesses. He said they often tried to get him to come to their meetings and lectured him about their religion. Anybody who didn’t agree with their views was branded a ‘pagan’.

When he complained about the bullying and the inappropriate religious remarks, he was sacked.

He took the case to a tribunal which found the m
anaging director of the company and another sales rep guilty of victimisation and harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion.

The Tribunal ruled: “It was a series of treatment by two people over a period of several months during which Mr Austin was treated atrociously. It was extreme, frequent and very unpleasant. All he wanted to do was get out and get on with his job.”

Mr Austin was awarded £43,755 for loss of earnings and injury to feelings. The company’s directors and managers were also ordered to take diversity training.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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