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Man told to pretend he was gay to keep job at Gateshead handbag shop wins £7,800 in damages

Daniel Hart, 31, was told to lie about his sexuality to his boss, who only hired women or gay men.

2020-01-02

A shop worker who was told to pretend he was gay in order to keep his job at a handbag shop has been awared £7,800 in damages.

Daniel Hart, 31, was told to lie about his sexuality to his boss at Amon boutique in Gateshead's Metrocentre, Tyne & Wear, as she only hired women or gay men, a tribunal has heard.

Mr Hart, who is bisexual, told The Mirror: "I was told to stay quiet because I’d be sacked if they found out.

"I had to keep pretending I was gay - even though I’m not.

 

Metrocentre, Gateshead

"It was humiliating that I had to hide who I am just to keep a job."

Mr Hart, who left his position as assistant manager at Amon in February 2018 after only three months, sued shop firm Birmingham Neoglory Ltd, Ms Zhang and another boss, Karen Price, for discrimination.

North Shields County Court heard that Amon boss Linda Zhang did "not like men working in the shop unless they are gay", and Ms Price said that Ms Zhang would "not be able to process" his sexuality.

She allegedly told another employee at the shop: "Whatever you do, don’t tell Linda Dan is bisexual. It would only lead to one thing, he will have to go.

Metrocentre, Gateshead

"This is Linda we’re talking about, just keep it shut".

Mr Hart says he was also instructed not to hire "coloured people" as "they are considered to be lazy, smelly, dirty b******s".

He told the court: "People were being judged on sex and sexuality and not capability and I found that offensive.

"What has your sex got to do with whether you can do a job? It’s not something that should happen in Britain in this day and age.”

Ruling in Mr Hart's favour and awarding £7,800 in damages, Judge Tudor Garnon said: “It is not uncommon for people to believe certain types of shop - those selling ladies accessories or cosmetics - should be staffed by people who understand what women want.

"But there is absolutely no reason why an Asian or black woman or homosexual man would have any less understanding than a white woman or homosexual man."