Legal and Finance: Gays Protected from Work Abuse

Article excerpt

Gay people are now set to be protected from name calling and discrimination at work under the Human Rights Act, according to a Birmingham employment lawyer.

Richard Powell, an employment lawyer with law firm DLA in Birmingham, said: 'The Sex Discrimination Act on its own does not protect homosexual people.

'When it is combined with the Human Rights Act then it can protect them because Article 8 protects the privacy of an individual and Article 14 protects an individual from being a victim of discrimination.'

His comments follow wide coverage of an employment tribunal case, Pearce v Governing Body of Mayfield School.

Ms Pearce, a lesbian, was a science teacher at Mayfield School. From 1991 onwards she suffered regular homophobic taunts and abuse from pupils at the school.

The response from the school was, in her view, seriously inadequate. Eventually her health suffered and she took early retirement in 1996. She made a claim for unlawful sexual discrimination.

The employment tribunal dismissed her claim and she took her case to the Court of Appeal. …