A gay man who was suspended for complaining about anti-gay graffiti has been awarded over £17,000 compensation by an employment tribunal.

Chris Martin won his case against Parkam Foods last September.

The West Yorkshire company supply pre-packaged meats to many of the major UK supermarkets.

Since the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in December 2003 only a small number of cases have been brought to a tribunal.

Finding offensive pornographic material in the men’s toilet with his name written next to it, Martin complained to his superiors.

Despite company procedures to deal with bullying and victimisation, bosses took no action.

Mr Martin then complained in writing, at which time a warning about graffiti was placed in the lavatories, but no mention was made of the homophobic nature of the material.

The company did not try to find out which employee was responsible for the graffiti, and Martin told the tribunal that he was treated “like a piece of dirt” for complaining about the abuse.

When he was suspended in November 2005, Martin resigned and claimed he was a victim of constructive dismissal.

Mr Martin has been awarded £10,000 for injury to his feelings and £5,000 damages to reflect how he was treated by Parkham Foods, reports the Yorkshire Post.

The tribunal found that the company did not deal with the complaints of homophobia correctly.

Mr Martin told the Post:

“I hope that the employment tribunal judgement and this award demonstrates to other people whatever their sexual orientation, colour, creed or age that they do not have to put up with workplace bullying.

“There is help out there if they have a genuine case and are prepared to stand up for themselves.”

Last month the Law Centres Federation launched a free DVD that informs lesbian, gay and bisexual people about their employment rights.

Pride Not Prejudice focuses on discrimination and harassment at work on the grounds of sexual orientation.

It explains the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) regulations and describes how they protect people in the workplace.

It also provides information on the options available to deal with discrimination and harassment.

Free copies of the DVD can be obtained by contacting Savita Narain at the Law Centres Federation on 020-7121 3320 or emailing savita@lawcentres.org.uk