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Man wins discrimination claim against London’s oldest gay pub

PinkNews Staff Writer February 24, 2010
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A gay man who worked in a London pub has won thousands of pounds in compensation after a tribunal found he was discriminated against.

Charles Lisboa, 41, joined the Coleherne Arms in Earls Court as assistant manager shortly before it re-opened as the Pembroke Arms in December 2008.

The pub, regarded as London’s first gay pub, was acquired by Realpubs in 2008.

Although it had previously attracted an almost exclusively gay clientele, the new owners said they hoped to refurbish it and market it as a gastropub instead.

The tribunal found that Realpubs director Malcolm Heap and the pub’s general manager Jimmy Sydney had tried to “de-gay” the pub and that gay customers and staff had been referred to as “queens”.

Mr Lisboa said he had been told to put a sign outside the pub stating it was not a gay pub and on another occasion was asked to reprimand a gay couple for their behaviour.

He also said that Mr Heaps had paid him the backhanded compliment of being “another kind of gay”.

Mr Lisboa quit in job within four weeks of the Pembroke Arms reopening.

According to the Evening Standard, he suffered depression, sleeplessness and took nine months to find a new job.

The London Central Employment Tribunal upheld his claim of discrimination and awarded him compensation for this. However, his claim of constructive dismissal was deemed unsuccessful.

Mr Lisboa is considering an appeal over this part of the decision.

The amount of compensation he won has not been disclosed but it is understood to be “thousands” of pounds.

Representing him, Paul Daniels at Russell Jones & Walker, said: “This landmark decision confirms that an establishment that wishes to change from serving a mainly gay clientele to a mixed clientele, must not do so in a way that discriminates against gay clients.

“The decision also serves as a stark warning to any employer who tolerates abuse and prejudice against gay staff or customers.

Mr Lisboa said: “I am delighted to have won my case and to have exposed the discriminatory and anti-gay actions of Realpubs.

“No-one should have to put up with repeated abuse and prejudice in the workplace. That is why I brought my case.”

A Realpubs spokeswoman told the Evening Standard: “We have undertaken a full investigation into the incident and, having paid the penalty, are pleased the situation is now resolved.”

Related topics: compensation, decision, London, London, Pembroke, pub, tribunal

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