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Firm discriminated against gay lawyer with ‘batty boy’ friend

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Reader comments

  1. I never heard of a solicitor using a term like “batty boy” before. Shocking.

  2. Well, the police use that term when harassing photographers innocently taking pictures at a military parade!

    1. Well they are hoi poloi. ;)

    2. Thats not what the police said in the Jules Mattsson case at all. If you can’t speak with accuracy then don’t say anything at all.

  3. Father Lovejoy 3 Feb 2012, 4:41pm

    Shame on the lawyers for saying that about one of their own.

  4. de Villiers 3 Feb 2012, 4:55pm

    > Bivonas said it had “the appropriate measures in the light of the Tribunal’s observations”.


    Why do people and organisations make comments that are face-saving and false? At least accept that you got it wrong and take it properly. Weasel words such as those above are taken seriously by no-one.

    1. indeed, ‘Tribunal’s ruling’ all of a sadden became ‘Tribunal’s observations’

    2. Bearing in mind they are specialists in regulatory proceedings, they shouldn’t have got it wrong in the first place!

  5. For those interested here is a link to the full judgement:-

    1. Thanks, Harry

      I think the words “clutching at straws” and “ignorant” come to mind if they thought they would get away with their bigotry and/or their appeal would fail …

  6. Suddenly Last Bummer 3 Feb 2012, 6:35pm

    Oooh ‘batty boy’, an old school term used by the black community. So are we to assume that the law firm’s equal opportunities doesn’t extend beyond the black community to LGBTs?

    1. The term ‘batty boy’ isn’t a term used in the ‘black’ community. It’s old Jamaican slang for gay. My family are Ghanaian and my Mum wouldn’t have a clue what it meant if I asked for a definition.

      1. yes, Suddenly Last Bummer shown a level of stereotypical assumptions in his “an old school term used by the black community”

        1. Not least in the patronising assumption that there’s a ‘black community’.

          1. It’s not just evil white people who refer to the ‘black community’.

  7. This is disgusting. It was clearly discrimination from the outset, the fact they took it to the EAT shows a complete disregard for discrimination laws and the feelings of the barrister. Becoming a barrister is extremely difficult, not to mention extremely expensive. The same goes for becoming a solicitor. It’s quite frankly shocking to me that presumably intelligent people ended up using such childish and offensive behaviour.

    Furthermore, I would hope the Solicitors Regulation Authority will take action against the solicitor involved for bringing the industry into disrepute.

    1. James Burton 4 Feb 2012, 10:25am

      Bivonas LLP say that Mr Bennett is “working elsewhere”; they know full well Mr Bennett is not working elsewhere and that he has been ill and unable to work as a result of their discrimination since April 2010.
      The events may well have taken place almost 2 years ago; that is because Bivonas LLP denied liability throughout and then appealed against unanimous decision of the 3 judges at Employment Tribunal, thus delaying the inevitable conclusion of case for another year (the original remedies hearing was listed for March 2011. Now there will be a remedies hearing listed and also another trial listed as Mr Bennett issued a second claim that from February 2011 for discrimination, harassment, and repudiatory breach of contract as Bivonas failed to pay him sick pay and holiday pay.
      Bivonas LLP say ‘We have learned from this experience and have taken the appropriate measures in the light of the tribunal’s observations.’ Does this mean they have sacked the two lawyers who discriminated?

      1. James Burton 4 Feb 2012, 10:30am

        This conduct of the discriminators is contrary to Code 6 of the Code of conduct for solicitors – Equality and Diversity. No doubt a complaint will be making it’s way to the SRA against John Bechelet and Antony Brown for breach of the Code. The SRA I clear – a judgment against someone for discrimination = finding of a breach of Code.

        1. Hopefully the SRA and Legal Ombudsman will receive a significant number of concerns to encourage them to take clear, unambiguous and strong action to protect future clients, colleagues and the name of their profession …

      2. ‘…Does this mean they have sacked the two lawyers who discriminated?…’

        not necessarily, most likely they will be sent to one of those equality at work courses

      3. And as I said above, Bivonas are specialists in regulatory proceedings, so should have known better.

  8. clearly barristers at Bivonas LLP havent watched ‘Philadelphia’ film with Tom Hanks

  9. Staircase2 6 Feb 2012, 12:36am

    Beggars belief that a Legal Firm would be so bigoted (and stupid!) as to write this in the first place – let alone try to defend it…

    They must be a bloody crap Legal Firm is all I say…(don’t use them…!)

  10. Reading around this case on the internet, particularly in “The Lawyer”, it appears a significant number of people have (or intend to) submit concerns about Bechelet and Bivonas LLP to the SRA …

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