The EAT has held that less favourable treatment on grounds of sexual orientation covers any case where sexual orientation, whether it be that of the claimant or a third party, is an effective cause of the detriment suffered.

In this case a pub termed a “gay pub” was being changed into a gastropub and the claimant employee was asked to seat customers who did not appear to be homosexual in prominent positions and also to display a board outside the premises that read “this is not a gay pub”.

The EAT followed the principle laid down in the 1983 case of Showboat Entertainment Centre Ltd v Owens (in which the claimant was a white employee who was dismissed from his role managing an entertainment centre for refusing to follow an instruction to exclude all black customers) and held that this amounted to less favourable treatment of homosexual customers (third parties) on the grounds of their sexual orientation and so also amounted to less favourable treatment of the claimant on that ground. The EAT therefore upheld the claimant’s claim for constructive dismissal.

Lisboa v Realpubs