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Why 'gay' gestures are discrimination

  • November 9, 2015
A gay man has won a landmark discrimination test case, based on homophobic gestures alone, has been awarded £7,500 in a landmark case after shop staff made vile 'vile homophobic hand gestures' towards him in ten-month dispute over a refund.

The customer, who has been named only as Tim, had gone to a Southend on Sea business several times over a period of ten months to resolve a dispute over a refund. Southend County Court heard that locksmith Peter Edwards who worked at Taylor Edwards Ltd blew a ‘sarcastic kiss’ at the disgruntled customer when he walked out. This was apparently followed up with more than 20 ‘homophobic’ gestures over the next few months, ranging from winking to ‘vile and vulgar gesturing’

The court ruled that Tim’s distress had ‘not been minor’ and awarded him compensation at a hearing last month. The case is believed to be the first time a business has been ordered to pay damages for discrimination that was entirely non-verbal. Tim decided to take the firm to civil court, where he was awarded £7,500 in compensation from Taylor Edwards Ltd of Southend, Essex, under the Equality Act 2010 – which prevents anyone supplying goods or services from discriminating against customers on grounds including race, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

The Equality Act 2010

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

You're protected from discrimination in these situations:

  • at work
  • in education
  • as a consumer
  • when using public services
  • when buying or renting property
  • as a member or guest of a private club or association
Clare Samuels

About the Author:
Clare Samuels

Clare is the Creative & Client Director & one of the co-founders of Ted Learning. She is a very experienced trainer and actor specialising in people behaviour and how these impact peoples perception of us. Clare specialises in Presentation Skills, Management Coaching, Conflict Management, Negotiation Skills, Influencing Skills & supports many courses as an actor where her ability to bring realistic characters to life is often reflected in delegate feedback. She oversees all of the ted learning actors, ensures all of our theatre based learning is ‘on brand’ and is the key client contact for Housing & Charities, Government Agencies and Publishing and Finance sectors.