17 May 2007
Sacked lesbian nurses win compensation
Two lesbian nurses have won compensation of more than £350,000 after being sacked over their sexuality.
Penny Smith, 41, and Margaret Durman, 55, were dismissed from their jobs in a care home following allegations that they had allowed sexual and physical abuse of the patients who were resident there.
However, after hearing testimonies that Barchester Healthcare, the authority which managed the care home, had trawled staff for complaints it was found that the claims were bogus.
Instead the court ruled that the couple had been the victim's of sexual orientation discrimination and that furthermore the company had not observed legally binding procedure over the pair's disciplinary hearings and dismissal.
The tribunal report stated: "It is hard to see how any dismissal, conducted by an employer of such size, could be so very bad unless sexual orientation discrimination was the root cause of it.
"We are not satisfied that a heterosexual couple would have been treated the same."