The Industrial Tribunals in Belfast recently heard an allegation of unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of sexual
orientation.

By way of background, the Claimant was employed by the first Respondent, Dior, as an Account Manager for just over a year.  His place of work was within a store operated by the second Respondent, Boots.

On starting work, it was made clear to the Claimant that, although employed by Dior, he would be subject to the day to day direction of management in the Boots store and, if they ever withdrew their approval for him to work there, Dior would have no option but to remove him from that store.

At the end of 2016, a number of disciplinary issues arose resulting in the Claimant being issued with a ‘record of conversation’ by Dior in February 2017 setting out details of agreed action which was signed off by the Claimant.

Later that month, following an incident in store, Boots withdrew their consent for the Claimant to work there. The Claimant alleged that he had been bullied in the workplace by an employee of Boots. There was a
counter allegation that he had been abusive and that his conduct was ‘likely to bring Dior into disrepute’.  After an investigation, the Claimant was eventually dismissed by Dior for gross misconduct.

The Claimant, who identifies as gay, alleged unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of his sexual orientation. 

The Industrial Tribunals held that the dismissal by Dior was,
in all the circumstances, fair.  On the sexual orientation claim against Boots, it was held that ‘[t]here is simply no prima facie case of such discrimination on the evidence before the tribunal.’  Accordingly his claim was dismissed.

By Paul Sullivan FRSA

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