The Bishop of Hereford has today been ordered to pay more than £47,000 following the Employment Tribunal case won by gay youth worker John Reaney, whose appointment was blocked by the Bishop in 2006. The Bishop's estimated costs in the case are a further £50,000. The Tribunal has said it expects the Bishop to fulfil an undertaking that he will undergo equal opportunities training. The case was supported and funded by Stonewall.
The Cardiff Employment Tribunal ruled last July that the Bishop acted unlawfully by blocking John Reaney's appointment to the post of Diocesan Youth Officer. Mr Reaney was interviewed by a panel of eight people for the post. However, a unanimous decision to appoint him was personally blocked by the Bishop.
Today's Tribunal ruling against the Bishop includes £33,000 for loss of future earnings and £7,000 damages specifically awarded for 'psychiatric injury'. The tribunal heard last June that the Bishop had subjected John Reaney to a humiliating and offensive cross-examination about his private life to which a heterosexual would not have been submitted.
John Reaney said: 'I'm delighted that this case is finally over. Lesbian and gay Christians working within the Church of England are entitled to be treated with humanity. I'm very grateful to Stonewall for supporting this case throughout.'
Liz Morgan, Director of Stonewall Cymru, says "We are delighted that the Tribunal has sent a clear message to all employers the no one, not even a Bishop, is above the law. John first came to Stonewall Cymru to seek advice, and given its importance, Stonewall funded and supported his case throughout. We hope this case has raised awareness that employers need to ensure they are inclusive and supportive of lesbian and gay staff.
The Cardiff Employment Tribunal ruled that the Diocese of Hereford should pay John Reaney £47,345. The total compensation award reflects loss of wages, future pension loss, damages for psychiatric injury and injury to feelings.
Discrimination in employment on grounds of sexual orientation is unlawful under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. The legislation covers every stage of employment including the application and interview process.