A Bristol man has won a claim of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and been awarded thousands of pounds in damages.

An employment tribunal also found that Tony Gaman had been unfairly dismissed by Bristol County Sports Club.

“After about eight-and-a-half years I got tired of living a lie and told them that I was gay.

“After that they just started to make my life hell. They just were looking for an excuse to get rid of me,” Mr Gaman told the tribunal, reports the Bristol Evening Post.

He had worked at the club for nine years, but after coming out he suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of other staff, management and customers.

In September 2006 he complained that while working behind the bar he and his partner had been threatened with violence.

When he complained to managers, he was sacked.

The tribunal also heard that 29-year-old Mr Gaman had been made to work for under the minimum wage, sometimes manning the bar for 75 hours a week.

His undisclosed payout is thought to include compensation for unpaid wages as well as damages.

Mr Gaman told the tribunal of the homoophobic abuse he was subjected to while working at the Bristol County Sports Club, and the unprofessional attitude of club committee members.

“One member of staff told me that all gays were evil and one told me that he thought all gays should be shot,” he said.

“When I went to this disciplinary hearing there were eight members of the committee there and they drank all the way through it.”

Mr Gaman’s victorious solicitor, David Thomas, explained to the Bristol Evening Post that the sports club committee are personally liable for the costs of the case.

“Employers who permit homophobic practices run the risk of facing legal challenges, which can cost them dearly. In the case of a social club, as here, the employer may be an unincorporated association.

“This means that the members of the committee were individually as well as jointly liable to pay the compensation.”