A tribunal judge ruled that calling 22-year-old Kane Weresch a “batty boy” amounted to harassment, even though he was openly gay. Kane, who was the bar manager at a hotel in Oxfordshire, had sued Crown and Thistle Hotels for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and constructive unfair dismissal.
Both claims were rejected but the judge she was “quite shocked” by the language used by senior staff and ordered that the claimant should be paid £600 pounds for harassment.
Earlier the employment tribunal had been told that Kane was hounded out of his job by homophobic colleagues who labelled him a “batty boy” and made remarks alleging him to be an AIDS victim.
He was repeatedly bullied by line manager Mario Lolli at the Crown and Thistle Hotel and Restaurant, it was said.
He was also victim to homophobic slurs from the head chef, Chris Barr, who shouted that he was a “batty boy” down a walkie talkie radio during a busy dinner service.
The treatment and the hotel management’s failure to take his complaints seriously led him to resign from his job in Abingdon, Oxon., in July last year.
Mr Weresch, of Tower Close, Abingdon, said he had put in “at least” four letters of complaint about his treatment since he joined the firm in 2005, but never had a written or verbal response.
He claimed that he officially complained about Mr Lolli’s AIDS remark in writing, in March 2007 but got no response before writing a number of other grievances over the following months.
When he did finally hand his resignation in his manager then made ANOTHER remark about AIDS, it was said.
Thomas Oxton, representing Crown & Thistle Ltd, claimed that Mr Weresch had not handed in any letters in the past and had “tried to create a paper trail to support his claim.”
He also said that the young bar manager would also swear at Mr Lolli – on one occasion called him a “f…..g Italian prick” – and not be offended by his behaviour.
The solicitor also claimed that Mr Weresch had already had interviews with another public house, The Brewery Tap, before resigning, telling colleagues he was leaving because the money was better.
After ordering the payment of £600 pounds compensation for the “batty boy” remark,
the panel found against his claims of constructive unfair dismissal and discrimination against sexual orientation, saying that they believed he gave as good as he got to Mr Lolli.
Judge Hill said “You were clearly annoyed by the batty boy remark and made a grievance against it but it’s just too convenient that you had an alternative job.
“We believe the reason you left was to go to a different job and to get a better career.”
The employment judge also criticised the use of language by senior staff at the hotel, saying she was quite shocked that so much poor language was used.