News and Events

Homophobic Banter

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The Court of Appeal has, today, overturned the EAT's decision in English v Thomas Sanderson Ltd. (see bulletin 20/2/08 for EAT decision).

By a majority, the Court of Appeal held that the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003 DO protect a heterosexual man who is repeatedly tormented by homophobic banter (including names such as “faggot”) when (a) he is not gay, (b) he is not perceived or assumed to be gay by his tormentors, and (c) he accepts that they do not believe him to be gay. The banter arose purely because he had attended a boarding school and lived in Brighton.

The judgment of Laws LJ, who dissented, is twice as long as the combined judgments of Sedley LJ and Lawrence Collins LJ, who allowed the appeal. The judgments make very interesting reading.

[Thanks to Marcus Pilgerstorfer for telling me about this case. He has written an excellent summary of it, which appears on the Old Square Chambers website]