Latest News

Discrimination -gendered swear words

The recent case of Fischer v London United Busways ET/2300846/2021, demonstrates that a use of a gender swearword could amount to discrimination.

Miss Fischer is a trans woman who worked as a bus driver for London United Busways (LUB). She brought a claim against the LUB for gender reassignment discrimination. One of her allegations were that one of her colleagues had called her a ‘wanker’. She argued that this was less favourable treatment because of her gender reassignment.

The claim failed because the employment tribunal found that the alleged comment had not been made. However, the tribunal implied that had the comment been made, this would have been sufficient to establish a case of gender reassignment discrimination. The tribunal recognised that the swearword that was used in this case is used to apply to men and therefore not gender neutral.

The tribunal also found that the company had not taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent the gender reassignment discrimination. The reasons being that (1) the Equal Opportunities Policy was not up to date, (2) the Equal Opportunities and Harassment policies were pinned on noticeboards at the depot where only a small proportion of the drivers spend their time there; and (3) there was a lack of understanding and awareness of the LGBTQ issues across the company.

Morgan LaRoche can assist with policies, procedures and internal training to assist Companies in defending discrimination claims.