Russell Jones & Walker Wins Claim Against London's Oldest Gay Pub
on: March 02, 2010, 7:55 am
Russell Jones & Walker
Russell Jones & Walker has won a claim of adopting 'an
anti-gay policy' against the new owners of London's oldest gay pub on
behalf of Mr Charles Lisboa, 41, who joined the Coleherne Arms as
Assistant Manager shortly before it re-opened as the Pembroke Arms in
The pub, regarded as London's first 'gay pub', had attracted an exclusively gay
clientele until its acquisition by Realpubs in 2008. The new owners stated that they
intended to refurbish the pub and re-package it as a gastro-pub, to attract patrons
from a wider section of the community.
However, soon after the pub re-opened as the Pembroke Arms, Malcolm Heap, Director
at Realpubs, expressed concern to staff that the clientele had not really changed.
The Tribunal accepted that Mr Heap, along with Jimmy Sydney, the pub's General
Manager, took various steps to 'de-gay' the pub, including putting a sign up
outside proclaiming, 'This is not a gay pub'.
Mr Heap also stressed in an email to one of Realpub's investors that he was
attempting to ban the pub's 'over the top' customers.
Mr Lisboa was uncomfortable with the stance taken by Realpubs' management regarding
their attitude to him and the pub's gay customers. On one occasion, Mr Lisboa was
asked by Mr Heap to reprimand a gay couple for their behaviour, referring to them as
'queens'. Mr Heap then went on to say that Mr Lisboa was 'another kind of gay'.
On a separate occasion, Mr Heap stated that one of Mr Lisboa's colleague's
'walked too camp'.
Only four weeks after joining the Pembroke Arms Mr Lisboa tendered his resignation
due to sex discrimination.
The London Central Employment Tribunal has upheld Mr Lisboa's claim that he was the
victim of discrimination at work and
awarded him compensation. However, his claim of constructive dismissal was deemed
Paul Daniels, partner in the award-winning Employment Law Team at Russell Jones & Walker,
who acted for Mr Lisboa, 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 stated:
"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. However, I do not understand how the tribunal found
that I had been the victim of a repeated pattern of discriminatory treatment and yet
decided I was not entitled to resign in response."
Mr Daniels concluded:
"In this case, the tribunal accepted that numerous abusive comments were made by
Realpubs managers referring to gay customers as 'queens' and accusing someone of
being 'too camp' and that this amounted to unlawful sexual orientation
discrimination against a gay employee.
It is, however, disappointing and very surprising that the tribunal saw fit to
conclude that our client was not constructively dismissed following the
discriminatory treatment and abusive remarks the tribunal unanimously found he had
been subjected to. We are closely studying an appeal on that point."
- ENDS -
Notes to editors:
Case number: 609803.1
About Russell Jones & Walker:
Russell Jones & Walker employs over 400 staff (with 181 lawyers) and is renowned as
the leading national firm of solicitors in protecting the rights and legal interest
of individuals and those who represent them, and independantly recognised as one of
the leaders in the field of Business Crime and
regulation. RJW has a network of regional offices and includes those in the
following centres: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Wakefield, Manchester, Newcastle,
Sheffield, Cardiff and an associated office in Edinburgh.
For further information, please contact:
16-18 Berners St
0207 462 8408