An industrial tribunal has found that a 51-year-old Belfast docker was the victim of discrimination and harassment at work on the grounds of his sexual orientation and was unfairly dismissed by Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries Ltd.
Martin Shiel was awarded £37,500 for unfair dismissal and £7,500 for harassment at work.
The tribunal stated that “the flaws in the investigatory and disciplinary procedure render the dismissal substantively unfair” and that the company had “adopted a far too passive approach to unpleasant banter”.
Mr Sheil said: “This has been a difficult period in my life. My job at Stena was very important to me and I worked hard to keep my private life and work life separate.
“I endured months of abuse in silence.
“The reason I took this case was to try and make sure that others don’t have to go through this.
“I am relieved this process is over and that the tribunal has ruled on the kind of the harassment I suffered.
“I have experienced a rough couple of years and I am now looking forward to a fresh start and just getting on with my life.”
The tribunal upheld his complaint that he had been unfairly dismissed following an incident involving a member of staff who engaged in homophobic abuse.
His case was supported by the Equality Commission.