Straight bouncer at gay bar awarded $12,000 for harassment

Female bouncer claims owner insulted her and then fired her for being heterosexual
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A female bouncer at a gay nightclub has been awarded more than $12,000 Cdn after filing a complaint under a U.K. discrimination law, though the complaint was a little different from a typical one under the law.

Sharon Legg, a 33-year-old married mother of four, was a bouncer at a gay nightclub in Bournemouth, U.K. After working there for a year, she was promoted to head of security in the spring of 2006.

However, shortly after her promotion, her new boss began referring to her as a “breeder,” which is a derogatory term in the gay community. She said she treated it jokingly at first, but sometimes he would also say, “Urgh, you’re straight,” when he passed by her, which began getting to her.

Other employees at the club stopped following her instructions and in June 2006 she was fired after a dispute with a doorman. She wasn’t given a reason for her dismissal, she said, she was told one day it wasn’t working out.

Legg filed a complaint under the discrimination law, which was designed to prevent gay lesbian people from being harassed. However, though the roles were reversed, Legg felt her situation applied as well. As the only straight woman in a gay environment, she felt she was being singled out and harassed because of her sexual orientation.

“There is law that protects all sexual orientations,” Legg told news website thisislondon.co.uk. “It shouldn’t matter whether you are heterosexual, gay or bi — no one should be harassed at work.”

The employment tribunal did not find Legg was specifically fired because she was straight, but it did find she was unfairly dismissed and awarded her more than $6,000 Cdn. It also awarded her an additional $6,000 Cdn for injury to feelings from the harassment she endured.

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