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Stena Line ordered to pay £45,000 to unfairly dismissed victim of homophobic abuse

Mr Martin Shiel has been awarded compensation of £45,000 against Stena Line, his former employer.  The Northern Ireland Industrial Tribunal found that Mr Shiel was the victim of discrimination and harassment at work on the grounds of his sexual orientation.  The Tribunal also upheld Mr Shiel’s complaint that he had been unfairly dismissed, following an incident involving him and another member of staff who had been taking part in the homophobic abuse. 

The Tribunal stated that ‘..flaws in the investigatory and disciplinary procedure render the dismissal substantively unfair’ and Stena Line had ‘…adopted a far too passive approach to unpleasant banter’.  Stena Line said that it is ‘disappointed’ by the tribunal decision and it has lodged an appeal, scheduled for September.

Dr Michael Wardlow of the Equality Commission said that the Tribunal’s decision ‘..posts a warning to all employers that they must take active steps to ensure that their policies against harassment and discrimination are known, understood and practised by their entire workforce.’

Click here to read coverage from PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance).  The Equality Commission’s coverage can be accessed here.