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Legal Updates

Discussing sexual orientation

18 July 2011 #Employment

It is not discrimination to simply discuss the fact of someone`s sexual orientation, when this has already been made public.

In Grant v HM Land Registry (2011), Mr Grant, who is gay, brought a claim for sexual orientation discrimination after he discovered his manager had discussed Mr Grant`s sexuality with a colleague.  Mr Grant transferred from Lytham Land Registry office, where he had been "out" as a homosexual, to the Coventry office.  His new manager had mentioned Mr Grant`s sexual orientation to a colleague in Coventry.

The Court of Appeal found that there had been no direct discrimination or harassment. Mr Grant`s sexuality was already public knowledge and it had been discussed in an idle conversation without any ill-purpose.  Of course, had Mr Grant not already been open about his sexuality, any "outing" by his manager or other colleagues could have amounted to discrimination.
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