Sheffield news Firefighter sacked for calling gay colleague 'half a man' given £12k PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Philip Staines was awarded £12,163 from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for dismissing him without notice
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A former North Yorkshire firefighter who was sacked for calling a short, homosexual colleague "half a man" has received over £12,000 after a tribunal hearing. Philip Staines was sacked by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in June 2020 over gross misconduct after he referred to his colleague Jonny Metcalfe as "half a man". Mr Staines said that this nickname was in reference to his height - Arthur being an abbreviation of "Arthur man", as in "half a man" - but Mr Metcalfe took it to be a derogatory reference to his sexuality. To get the latest email updates from North Yorkshire Live, click here . Mr Staines was on a final warning at that point after previous complaints about his behaviour and derogatory language towards colleagues had led to an investigation that concluded in 2019. He was found to have referred to a female fire fighter who he worked with as "b***h" on three separate occasions. The subsequent investigation was started over reports that Mr Staines had referred to Mr Metcalfe as a "bent b*****d" at Grassington Fire Station on July 15 2019. This comment was later dismissed in the investigation. There was also a further complaint about Mr Staines when it was reported that he made sexist comments while at Richmond Fire Station. A female firefighter said that Mr Staines told her "well you’re not like silly b***h from Tadcaster" and said "you've got her well trained" to other fire fighters at the station after she answered the phone. Read More Related Articles No curfew, no rules and drug dealing is the norm - residents slam Huddersfield area and hostel after two fire deaths Read More Related Articles 'Mortified' Sheffield takeaway owners win respect for action on Endcliffe Park litter louts The investigation eventually focused on Mr Staines's comments towards Mr Metcalfe, who in an interview said that Mr Staines had said "something along the lines of ‘How are you doing fella, well you’re not a fella, half a fella’". Another witness, Scott Wilson, said that he had heard Mr Staines say to Mr Metcalfe: "you’re only half a man anyway". Mr Wilson said: "It wasn’t made in a sinister way and I believe it was due to Jonny's openness about being gay. Jonny responded in a relaxed way, but I recall thinking 'that’s a bit close to the bone'." Asked in the investigation how the comments made him feel, Mr Metcalfe said: "I felt empty and very low. It took me back to where I had been before, feeling demoralised." Mr Staines insisted the nickname was “just banter” because of Metcalfe’s short stature, and denied it was in any way a homophobic reference to his sexuality.
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. “I can’t call him Stumpy or anything else. It’s just banter. We were just laughing and joking. He came into the recreation room and I said ‘Hi Arthur.’ It’s not degrading.” The internal investigation concluded that Mr Staines had breached the service's Code of Conduct, Bullying and Harassment policy and organisational values and he was dismissed. The firefighter pursued a claim for unfair dismissal and breach of contract against his former employer to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. However, after losing his challenge in February he launched a separate claim against North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Enter your postcode to see crimes reported in your area
Mr Staines’ dismissal was upheld this week by employment judge Sophie Buckley, who ruled that it was “reasonable” for Metcalfe to have interpreted the comments as homophobic and taken offence. She said: “It appears obvious to me that ‘half a man’ might be interpreted by a gay man as an offensive comment on their sexual orientation. In my view Mr Staines ought also to have appreciated that. "The fact that the claimant had used the term in ‘banter’ to a colleague to describe his height because he could not use terms such as ‘dwarf or stumpy’ did not demonstrate self-improvement after his previous written warning for inappropriate language and it did not demonstrate understanding in relation to dignity at work and inappropriate use of language." She also found that Staines had belittled a female worker. However, at the tribunal in Leeds she also ruled his conduct had not been so bad that he should have been dismissed without notice – despite him being on a written warning at the time. As a result the tribunal awarded Mr Staines his notice pay plus 10 per cent for breach of contract plus his holiday pay, amounting to a total of £12,163.
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