A lesbian former chief executive and her partner have won a sexual orientation discrimination case against a company they both previously worked for.

Leeds Employment Tribunal awarded Ms Paula Temple and Ms Stefanie Boulila £58,714 and £22,840 respectively, following “cruel, oppressive and malicious” conduct by several board members of Future Arts Limited, a not for profit social enterprise organisation.

Its managing director was also cited in the case.

Sarah Edwards, of Minster Law Solicitors, said: “Awards for aggravated damages are not common but the tribunal found that if ever a case warranted an award of aggravated damages then this was it.

“Despite only 610 claims for sexual orientation discrimination being made in the tribunal last year, of which only 20 were successful at a hearing, this claim demonstrates that discrimination because of sexual orientation does still happen in the workplace.”

She added: “The outcome should give confidence to employees that their claims will be taken seriously.”

Ms Temple and Ms Boulila commented: “We are very happy that our claim for justice was recognised by the tribunal. There is a general belief that discrimination doesn’t happen anymore even though it is an everyday reality in a lot of people’s lives. We are convinced that the small number of cases brought forward do not reflect the real amount of incidences.”