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Gay couple suffer second incident of bus discrimination

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  1. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Jan 2008, 1:26pm

    Disgusting. To those who think I’m the hypocrite and bigot read the following and judge for yourselves why right wing christians deserve that title:”The Stagecoach Group bus and train operating company is the second-largest in the UK with 16% of the bus market and 11% of the rail market.It is part-owned by one of Scotland’s most notorious opponents of gay equality, Brian Souter.In 2000 Mr Souter, an evangelical Christian, donated half a million pounds to a campaign in Scotland to uphold Section 28, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools.He cited his religious beliefs as justification for his actions, insisting he is not homophobic.Mr Souter is a member of the Church of the Nazarene, a Methodist sect. In 2000, he funded a “poll” of Scottish voters, sending out nearly four million ballot papers on the repeal of Section 28. The campaign failed in its objective.”Souter is yet another classic example of right wing christian bigotry and hypocrisy. He donated a lot of money to uphold Section 28 and claims he’s not homophobic. PULEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ! We’re supposed to ignore it, not reactd and let them run rough–shod over us? NOT!

  2. Omar Kuddus 25 Jan 2008, 1:53pm

    It is time to boycott Stagecoach (if you use them).Well, it can’t be a coincidence, not two times, by the same driver.Mark and Steven, return their pathetic offer and sue the pants off them, and hold Brian Souter, vicariously responsible for his employee’s actions, and show that your gay “beliefs as justification” for your actions.And you are not being Heterophobic either! It is clear that you are being discriminated against due to your sexuality, and in 2008 there are no grounds or justification for it, especially as you have the law on your side, and homophobia has no part in civilised society. And Robert I could not agree more. Its time the community start hitting back at them whenever they show their ugly head, full of discrimination and hatred.

  3. I hope the driver is sacked. It’s his job to drive the bus and collect fares. Nothing else.

  4. cant we set up a fighting fund. I would donate as long as any outcome monies went to charity. Come on stonewall this is a time when you should thrown pounds and pence in and fight this in the courts.

  5. William - dublin 25 Jan 2008, 3:09pm

    Quite right, Omar, the most powerful weapon at our disposal is the power as a consumer, and with our disposable income being higher, then it sends a clear message to where it hurts most… the profit and loss sheet.And the same driver??? Come on, what’s wrong wit the management of that company?!? A few goes in the courts and substantial damages payable will make them think twice about defending this muppet.

  6. Omar Kuddus 25 Jan 2008, 4:25pm

    You are right that one of the most important asset to our favour is the “Pink Pound” but also that we will not tolerate any form of Homophobia any more.Mark and Steven should not only sue , Stagecoach, for discrimination, but as I said , ALSO take and hold, Brian Souter ,himself, Vicariously responsible for his employees actions and sue him for exemplary and aggravated damages ( under Kuddus [2001] UKHL 29 at 133 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200001/ldjudgmt/jd010607/kuddus-1.htm ).Once a few people, as has recently been demonstrated, are taken to court and financially penalised for their or their companies actions, it soon makes them start singing a different tune and show that we no longer are going to settle for second best.I would gladly do al the paperwork necessary for this action for the couple, if they so wanted, as they deserve better.For twice is just rubbing salt into the wound.

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Jan 2008, 5:54pm

    Well said, Omar! Twice is definitely not a coincidence. Souter should fire this employee for having committed an offensive act more than once, already in violation of the law of the land. This employee should leave his religious bigotry at home and not bring it into the workplace. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior, but you know, there will be some who post here who think we’re being overly sensitive, the same apologists as always. When they are on the receiving end, then maybe they’ll get it through their thick skulls what discrimination is like. Its not something you ever forget. I would like everybody to move on, but you can’t when it keeps coming back at you in situations like this. These bigots are living in the dark ages with an extremely primitive mindset. These types may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century whether they like it nor not. The law is now on our side and if they don’t like it, to damn bad, get over it and grow up I say.

  8. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Jan 2008, 6:01pm

    Luke, I so agree with you on sacking the driver. He had his chance after the first encounter, but the second, absolutely no way should he be allowed to keep his job if he’s going to persist in treating people like that. He needs sensitivity training and encouraged to leave his religious beliefs at home where they belong. If he can’t separate those, then he doesn’t belong in a job in which he is supposed to be serving the public regardless of sexual orientation.

  9. Driver should definitely be fired. Plus, evangelicals should be dealt with somehow =_= look how they’re ruining America.

  10. Rev. James E. Brooking 25 Jan 2008, 7:07pm

    A point of clarification: The Church of the Nazarene is not a “Methodist sect”. It is a separate, independent organization that is a result of a schism with the Methodist Church that occurred in Texas in 1908. The church spread to the British Isles in 1915.The bus driver should have been sacked immediately!Rev. Jim BrookingHawaii. USA

  11. Odd – are these two just unlucky, asking for trouble or actually being discriminated against.Sometimes gays are so quick to cry wolf that when serious incidents occur it is ignored. Not saying this isn’t serious – but are these guys doing some sort of media investigation, or a secret shopper exercise.In London, bus drivers often behave like this – usually because they like to piss people off…rather than a form of discrimination.The matter of fact still remains we as a united Brit society still have a lot achieve in equality. There is so much passing legislation for protection but until it is adhered to it means nothing -that is the problem with our government – they’ll show their support for minorities but what do they ACTUALLY do that makes a difference. Lets see action, rather than words- and all communities need to be involved too – not just in coalition but ALSO in action!

  12. When I started working for Stagecoach the depot manager asked me if I was married. I told him I was living with my partner. He said bring her photo in and she will get a free bus pass. I told him my partner was a him. The depot manager didn’t bat an eye. “Well bring his photo in and he’ll get a free bus pass.” I have never had any problems with being open at work either from management or other drivers. It isn’t Stagecoach who are homophobic in this case, just the driver.

  13. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Jan 2008, 8:19pm

    Ryan, its called “enforcement”. If the government doesn’t make sure that the law is enforced, then we have serious issues. We MUST hold them accountable and seek legal redress if they don’t.

  14. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Jan 2008, 8:34pm

    David, you do have a point. In any event, the driver should be given a warning, that failure to stop for any same-sex couple, perceived or otherwise will result in instant dismissal. The law is the law and nobody should be exempt. Let him find work elsewhere or go work for the church instead. If this happens again, then its clear that Stagecoach has done nothing to curtail the blatantly discriminatory antics of its employee. He should leave his religion at home where it belongs, not on the bus.

  15. OMAR KUDDUS 26 Jan 2008, 10:27pm

    David, I don’t doubt that Stagecoach treats its employees fairly and has an anti discriminatory policy, which extends to it customers too.However as a responsible National company, it has a duty of care and responsibility, by law, to inshore that these policies are enforced and that the proper training is given to its employees to make shore that it does.This has not been the case, and if one looks at it rationally, you will have to agree that if it was the first time that this happened; perhaps it could have been excused.However the company knew that the first instance occurred, and did nothing to prevent it happening again, and thus there lays the problem.Leaving the homophobic driver aside, the service provider is vicariously responsible, by law, to its customers, and in this case the buck stops at the owners door.What I am though concerned about is why was something constructive not done in the first instance, when we were lead to believe that it would.The best persons to answer this would be the couple themselves, who are being silent, and not clearing the muddy waters, to allow something positive to be done about this issue.Perhaps, they chose not to and want to forget this issue, but then the question arises is why mention it and then keep quite.I am not accusing any one of foul play, mind you, but just would like the full picture that at present we do not have.For as Robert and everyone else has pointed out, Discrimination in whatever form is unacceptable and the driver seems to have more lives than a cat, and is left to his own devises without any repercussions, which is just not right or ethical or acceptable in this day and age.Companies and individuals are well are of the laws regarding homophobia and discrimination, so there is no excuse..

  16. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Jan 2008, 1:16am

    Does anyone actually know is what the disciplinary procedure is for Stagecoach drivers, if they drive off leaving someone at a stop intentionally? I suspect it is not instant dismissal, otherwise they would be doing it so frequently.If it is not the company would be hard pressed to sack this driver. From what I recall he didn’t admit the first incident involving the couple and he could say easily that the second incident was nothing to do with them being gay, but was more to do with the fact they pissed him off with their previous accusations.I know that there are a number of people on here that think we only need to say the word gay and the world should fall at our feet, but we should be aiming for equal treatment with all other sectors of society not special treatment and I very much doubt leaving someone from any one of those other sectors standing at a bus stop would result in dismissal.

  17. Bill Perdue 27 Jan 2008, 7:09am

    David, I’ve worked for the Union Pacific Railroad here in the US for almost 30 years and they have similar anti-discriminatory policies. Nevertheless we’ve had several showdowns with management over anti-gay and racist employees. Their attitude is that these policies are imposed by federal law and enforcing them is a nuisance they don’t want to seriously deal with. Something similar may have happened in relation to Stagecoaches handling of this particular little pig. GLBT groups have often noted that political and superstitious hate speech is a direct cause of discrimination and harassment. Souter’s gaybashing is a case in point. It certainly seems to have impressed this driver and made him feel he can get away with being a bigot. Those who demand that he should be fired are correct. Only a cretin would say ”I know that there are a number of people on here that think we only need to say the word gay and the world should fall at our feet, but we should be aiming for equal treatment with all other sectors of society not special treatment…” Comparing us with other social groups who do enjoy more rights is a typical right wing attempt to sidetrack the discussion. The very fact that Labour, the majority party, went out of its way (with LibDem help,[ok Jen?]) to pass special laws to protect us against discrimination means that we are not equal. GLBT communities need special protections and it’s dishonest to say that shielding us from harassment, discrimination and violence imperils the rights of heterosexuals. If anything, it enhances everyone’s rights. The only ones who lose are the bigots and we see who defends them time after time. Omar is right, the wishes of the two young men involved are paramount but it would be helpful if they supported mounting a press campaign and organizing demonstrations. Lawsuits against the driver and Stagecoach Group are also in order. Omar and Robert expat – is there a separate GLBT civil rights/civil liberties legal organization in England along the lines of Lambda Legal in the US that handles cases of discrimination like this? Would you provide me with a link? Robert, ex-pat Brit, of course you’re not a “hypocrite and bigot”. You have a perfect right to lambast christians. They, not we, chose a bizarre lifestyle of superstition and intolerance. They, not we, share a bigoted agenda with the extremist ayatollahs and right wing political groups everywhere. When you say they’re enemies of GLBT equality most of us who post here believe you.

  18. William - Dublin 27 Jan 2008, 10:02am

    Well done again Bill. Again, you devalue your comments to nothing more then histrionic rants by peppering them with insults directed at people here. Respect is something you need to look into yourself for, its seem to be lacking.

  19. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Jan 2008, 10:39am

    “Those who demand that he should be fired are correct.”In this country Bill, we have employment laws that prevent people from being dismissed at the drop of a hat. Unless gross misconduct could be proved without doubt, no employers should be sacking someone for one single ‘offense’.We can only guess what evidence Stagecoach does or does not have concerning the behaviour of this employee in relation to this and/or other aspects of his work for the company, so your gung-ho attitude of firing staff at the drop of a hat would likely not get very far with an employment tribunal.Would you like him to lose his job and then received a huge payout at a tribunal after he claimed that he was sacked unfairly? Is that what you want Bill, him to be financially rewards for bigoted behaviour? I’m sure that sends the right signals doesn’t it?

  20. Robert, ex-pat Brit 27 Jan 2008, 1:37pm

    Whether or not the bus driver was ticked off from the prior incident and accusations against him, the fact of the matter remains, he did it a second time. It matters not what his religious convictions are which prompted the first incident, that he did it for the second time warrants stern action by his employer. Obviously, they’ve done NOTHING to prevent it. This driver is clearly an idiot and a bigot to boot and needs to learn a lesson about the current law. If he does this a third time, then he should be dismissed, instantly!

  21. OMAR KUDDUS 27 Jan 2008, 4:30pm

    Bill. Believe it or not, England does have lots of LGBT civil right groups, but these are sub cultured into other parts of the Main group:Age Concern England, has a Political lobbying and educational organisation, which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the United Kingdom. http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/lesbian_gay_links.aspGovernment Equalities Office, Whose aim is to strengthen further the Government’s ability to deliver across the entire equalities agenda. The new Government Equalities Office will take on responsibility for the Government’s overall strategy and priorities on equality issues. This will include the Discrimination Law Review, the Single Equality Bill, and the Equality PSA; sponsorship of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and the response to Trevor Phillips’ Equalities Review. It will also be responsible for policy on gender equality, including the Minister for Women’s priorities, and sexual orientation and for integrating work on race and religion or belief equality into the overall equality framework. ]The office is responsible for the sponsorship of the following non departmental public bodies Equality and Human Rights Commission Women’s National Commission Socialist Party Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender group Who helps co-ordinate campaigns against anti-gay discrimination and for civil rights. http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/liberation/index.htmlTrades Union Congress – Equality The TUC campaigns for equal rights for LGBT’s at work and in society.www.tuc.org.uk/equality/index.cfm?mins=21minors=21Changing Attitude who are working for LGBT affirmation within the Angeican community and whose goal is to get the Anglican Churches fully accept, welcome and offer equality of opportunity to LGBT’s.London L G Switchboard that provides an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and anyone who needs to consider issues around their sexuality.www.llgs.org.ukTo mention but a few, and then of course there is Stonewall (as Robert mentioned) and various other LGBT organisations that would effectively help if asked, not to mention various individual campaigners..

  22. Robert, ex-pat Brit 27 Jan 2008, 4:45pm

    Omar, that is nice of you to provide information on those groups, I was unaware there were so many other than Stonewall. Times are changing for sure.

  23. OMAR KUDDUS 27 Jan 2008, 5:44pm

    In its own words :“Stagecoach UK Bus is one of the flagship companies within Stagecoach Group, one of the biggest transport organisations in the world. To give you an idea of the scale of our business, Stagecoach UK Bus employs over 18,000 staff at nearly 100 business units nationwide. We often have jobs to fill across the UK. Operating a number of local companies across the UK, there may be a job at your local Stagecoach company that’s just right for you. Drivers are key to the success of any bus service. Stagecoach is always on the look out for people with pleasant dispositions who enjoy serving the public and like driving. We offer competitive rates of pay, generous holiday entitlement, overtime opportunities, free Stagecoach bus travel, a uniform and SVQ training. Prospective drivers also receive full pay throughout their training and comprehensive instruction to obtain a PCV licence. For a career on the move, join a company that is dedicated to getting people where they want to go.” Aberdeen/Stonehaven/Ballater/Banchory area Contact George Devine, stagecoach Bluebird, Guild Street bus station, Aberdeen, AB11 6GR. george.devine@stagecoachbus.com “STAGECOACH GROUP CODE OF BUSINESS CONDUCTOverview. Stagecoach Group takes its corporate responsibilities seriously and the responsible way we do business is firmly embedded in our Group’s culture. From our approach to safety and the environment, to how we treat our people, our customers, our local communities and other key stakeholders, we have a very clear set of values.Our business is about the delivery of local services to local communities by local people. As well as providing a range of economic and environmental benefits, our bus and rail services help promote social inclusion and bring people together. We are committed to encouraging more people to use public transport. This Code of Business Conduct confirms our core values and policies in a number of areas: how we deal with our employees, suppliers, customers, competitors, and the wider communities in which we work. These values apply to every director, manager and employee in all our companies across our global operations.It is one thing to have a vision, but how that vision is implemented is equally important. Like any business in any sector, we can get better. We are continually striving to improve our policies, practices and service delivery to make an increasingly positive impact on society and the environment. Building trust with our stakeholders in the wider community is vital and providing clear information on our progress and performance is part of that process.Stagecoach has put in place a number of performance indicators that reflect our engagement with a range of stakeholders and these are tracked on a regular basis.Mission statement …Our vision is to create sustained shareholder value and share our success with our people, our customers and our communities.Compliance with laws and regulationsWe are committed to complying with all relevant laws and regulations in each of the marketplaces in which we operate. Each of our directors, managers and our employees is expected to understand how these laws affect their own individual work responsibilities. Stagecoach also expects its directors, managers and employees to protect and maintain the Group’s good reputation, and demonstrate a high standard of integrity, responsibility and professional conduct in their dealings with customers,…..Conflicts of interest…directors and employees must not engage in any activity that represents a conflict between their personal interests and those of the Company… Directors and employees are expected to carry out their duties objectively and they have an obligation to report any potential conflict of interest to their manager. Where circumstances dictate, we ensure appropriate additional management controls are in place to protect the integrity of the business.Equal opportunitiesOur people are central to the success of our business and we are committed to providing a working environment that treats all individuals fairly, with respect and values their contribution. We invest significant time and resources to ensure we have the right people in place to deliver what our customers need. Our processes for the employing individuals and suppliers is based on strict criteria centered on their key skills and proven performance. We have a strong commitment to equal opportunities in terms of recruitment, remuneration and promotion. As a major employer, we also recognise the need for on-going training and development for all our directors and employees, not just so our people can do their job, but [also] so they can develop individually.Human RightsAs a major employer with transport operations in a number of continents, we recognise the fundamental civil, political, economic and social human rights and freedoms of every individual and we strive to reflect this in our business. Discrimination and harassmentStagecoach will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. Unwelcome or inappropriate conduct is treated extremely seriously. Directors and employees are expected to treat their colleagues with respect and not engage in any behaviour that may lead to a potential complaint. We are fully committed to investigating any complaints and taking appropriate disciplinary action.”Group’s website, http://www.stagecoachgroup.com

  24. Bill Perdue 28 Jan 2008, 12:05am

    Thanks Omar, I’ll go to those sites and save them. TUC Equality is similar to the our own Pride at Work, a constituent group in the AFL-CIO here that has a permanent seat on the AFL-CIO’s national executive.

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