Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

high_court_1370274cA gay Belfast worker has won his claim for unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal after it was found that he had been subjected to “unpleasant” banter in the workplace.

Mr Martin Sheil, 51, worked for Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries on the docks before he started to experience problems with co-workers last year. Mr Shiels gave evidence to Tribunal in Belfast that he had been subjected to months of ‘banter’ and abuse from colleagues and that after a while he had “had enough” and confronted one of his colleagues about it. His colleague then complained to management and Mr Shiels was subjected to a disciplinary process and subsequently fired. He then made a claim for unfair dismissal, sexual orientation discrimination, and sexual orientation-related harassment to the industrial tribunal in Belfast.

Mr Shiels’ claim came to the industrial tribunal earlier this year, with Mr Shiels arguing that the action that his employer had taken against him had amounted to unfair dismissal as no reasonable employer would have taken the same decision to dismiss him, as well as arguing that the dismissal had been procedurally unfair. He also claimed that the dismissal amounted to sexual orientation discrimination and that he had suffered months of abuse regarding his sexual orientation – abuse that he claimed amounted to unlawful harassment on the grounds of his sexual orientation.

The industrial tribunal upheld Mr Shiels’ claims for sexual orientation-related harassment, sexual orientation discrimination, and unfair dismissal. The tribunal found that Mr Sheil had been subjected to months of abuse and that the company had adopted a “far too passive” attitude towards handling it. Further, the tribunal found that there were sufficient flaws int he investigatory and disciplinary procedure to render the dismissal unfair, and awarded Mr Sheils £45,000 for loss of earnings. However, this was reduced to £37,500 because of reductions to the award for the manner in which Mr Sheil had approached the matter and because there was a 20% chance that Mr Sheil could have been fairly dismissed.

Mr Shiel commented on the case that he used to “shrug off” the comments but that after a while they started to make him “physically sick”.

There appeared to be no comment from Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries or their representatives after the judgment.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must take care not only to ensure that they have equality and anti-discrimination policies in place – they must also ensure that they actively train staff in these policies and enforce the policies. A failure to do so may result in the employer becoming liable for harassment claims in the Employment Tribunal.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.77 Average

132 Reviews

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 1 month ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 1 month ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 1 month ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 9 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 10 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 10 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 10 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 10 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 11 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 11 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 11 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 11 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 11 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 11 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 11 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 11 months ago