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Bisexual prison officer discriminated against after being called ‘poof’ and ‘vermin’

Makbool Javaid

In Plaistow v Secretary of State for Justice, P was a prison officer (PO) at Woodhill, a high security prison. From the earliest days at Woodhill P was asked if he was gay by colleagues because of his “spiky” haircut, whereas his co-workers were mainly bald or had shaved heads. During a meeting, his line manager asked P directly if he was gay, which he answered, by saying he was bisexual. P was dismissed and claimed discrimination and harassment, because of sexual orientation, and that he had been victimised. An ET upheld the direct discrimination claim finding that P was regularly called ‘poof’ and ‘gay’, he was also called vermin’ and another PO pointed his finger into P’s face and slapped him. The ET also upheld the harassment claim because P was asked to disclose his sexual orientation, his work bag was coloured pink and a pink “fairy” cake was smeared inside it. Furthermore, as result of raising grievances about his treatment P was victimised when he was dismissed for gross misconduct involving an incident with a prisoner because the whole investigatory and disciplinary process was unfair, the outcome was pre-determined and designed to ensure P’s removal from the prison service.


The updates are kindly provided by Simons Muirhead & Burton Law firm

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and help judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information.  Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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