Employment Lawyers: Employment Tribunal Awards

Following a Remedy Hearing of the Cardiff Employment Tribunal (ET), the Diocese of Hereford has been ordered to pay £47,345 in compensation to youth worker, John Reaney. Mr Reaney, who is gay, won his claim of discrimination under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

Mr Reaney’s appointment to the post of Diocesan Youth Officer was blocked by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, in 2006. Mr Reaney had considerable experience as a youth worker and was by far the best candidate for the job. He had given an assurance that he would remain celibate whilst working in the post. However, as Mr Reaney had only recently ended a relationship, the Bishop did not think that he was capable, at that time, of making a promise that he would not enter into another one in the future. He was therefore not satisfied that Mr Reaney met the requirements of the employment.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) judged that as Mr Reaney had given his assurances on the celibacy issue, it was not reasonable for the Bishop to conclude that this requirement of the post had not been met. In an ordinary employment context, a potential applicant for a job cannot give ‘cast iron guarantees as to circumstances which may happen in the future’.

The compensation award includes £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8,000 for future pension loss, £7,000 damages for psychiatric injury and £6,000 for injury to feelings. The ET heard last June that the Bishop had subjected Mr Reaney to an embarrassing and humiliating cross-examination concerning his private life which a heterosexual person would not have been made to endure.

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