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Firefighter Who Called Gay Co-worker ‘half A Man’ Loses Unfair Dismissal

Firefighter who called gay co-worker ‘half a man’ loses unfair dismissal

A firefighter who called a gay co-worker “half a man” and “Arthur” has lost his unfair dismissal claim.

An employment tribunal rejected the worker’s claim that the comments related to his height, rather than his sexual orientation.

Firefighter called co-worker ‘half a man’

Philip Staines worked for the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in the UK.

He allegedly asked gay co-worker Johnny Metcalfe “alright Arthur do you want a brew?”.

On another occasion he allegedly told him, “you’re not a real man; only half a man”.

Staines also allegedly referred to Metcalfe as “a bent bastard”.

An internal investigation by the Fire Service subsequently found he breached the organisation’s Code of Conduct.

The Fire Service had previously issued Staines with a written final warning for referring to a female firefighter as a ‘b***h’.

Firefighter loses unfair dismissal

Staines subsequently filed a claim for unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

However, employment judge Sophie Buckley found Metcalfe reasonably considered the remarks as homophobic.

“I find that the use of language was inappropriate and it demonstrated a lack of judgment and insight.

“Further, it was reasonably considered to be offensive by the recipient.

“In my view, the conduct was certainly sufficient serious to merit dismissal with notice because the claimant was under a final written warning.”


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Compensation

While the tribunal dismissed Staines’ unfair dismissal claim, it also found his conduct did not warrant immediate dismissal without notice.

As a result, it awarded him £12,000 ($A22,677) compensation.

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says sexuality discrimination is unlawful in Australia. (Picture: Supportah)

Sexuality discrimination unlawful

Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Dismissals ‘R’ Us said sexuality discrimination is unlawful here in Australia.

“The minute you start calling people names based on their sexual orientation, you can expect to lose your job,” he said.

“Sexuality discrimination is unacceptable in Australian workplaces, and making fun of someone based on their sexuality qualifies as unlawful discrimination.”


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