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Handbag shop employee wins payout after boss told him to ‘pretend to be gay’ to keep his job

Nick Duffy January 2, 2020
The handbag shop employee won a sex discrimination claim

The handbag shop employee won a sex discrimination claim. File photo. (Creative Commons photo: Sam Howzit)

A man has won a discrimination payout, after he was told to pretend to be gay in order to keep his job in a handbag shop.

Daniel Hart, 31, was awarded £7,840 in damages after taking action against his former employer, the Amon boutique in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

Handbag shop worker was told only women and gay men can sell handbags.

The man, who is bisexual, had been told to hide the fact that he is attracted to women from his boss Linda Zhang – who he was told believed only women and gay men can sell handbags.

According to The Mirror, one superior had warned: “Whatever you do, don’t tell [boss] Linda Dan is bisexual. It would only lead to one thing, he will have to go.

“This is Linda we’re talking about, just keep it shut.”

The handbag shop employee won a payout for sex discrimination.

Hart told the paper:  “I was told to stay quiet because I’d be sacked if they found out.

“I had to keep pretending I was gay – even though I’m not. It was humiliating that I had to hide who I am just to keep a job.”

Sex discrimination ‘not something that should happen in Britain in this day and age’.

Hart added: “People were being judged on sex and sexuality and not capability and I found that offensive.

“What has your sex got to do with whether you can do a job? It’s not something that should happen in Britain in this day and age.”

He was awarded damages for sex discrimination by North Shields County Court.

Judge Tudor Garnon said: “It is not uncommon for people to believe certain types of shop – those selling ladies accessories or cosmetics – should be staffed by people who understand what women want.

“But there is absolutely no reason why an Asian or black woman or heterosexual man would have any less understanding than a white woman or homosexual man.”

More: bisexual, Gateshead, Gay, workplace discrimination

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