A shop worker who threw a bag of flour at a customer who called her a “filthy dyke” has won her case for unfair dismissal.
Caroline Gardener, 45 claimed that a man became abusive when he couldn’t find any lime cordial. Miss Gardner says he pushed her, called her useless and told her: “Get your sex life sorted out.”
Miss Gardener promptly threw a bag of flower at the unnamed man’s head. The pair then complained about each other’s conduct to the duty manager, Nicholas Burn. Whilst in his office, Miss Gardener allegedly lunged at the customer.
She told the tribunal: “I didn’t go for his throat, I just went for his collar because he had really upset me. When he called me a filthy dyke I had a pack of flour in my hand and, although I regret it now, I threw it at the back of his head. He then turned round and said, ‘You are a dyke and you’re going to get the sack’.”
Miss Gardener was dismissed for violent behaviour following an internal disciplinary hearing at Booker Cash Carry in September. She then referred the matter to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination.
The tribunal ruled that whilst Miss Gardener was not sacked due to her sexuality, Booker unfairly dismissed her.
She also claimed that the store manager Nicholas Burn had discriminated against her due to her sexuality. He told the hearing that he had been justified in sacking Miss Gardener and that she had not been treated any differently because she was a lesbian.