Case Review: Cinema Manager in Sexual Orientation Claim
A former Deputy Manager at the cinema chain Cineworld has taken the company to an Employment Tribunal on sexual orientation grounds after being dismissed from the Nottingham mulitplex.
Craig Sambrook, who had been with Cineworld for 16 years, claimed that his dismissal had been unfair and that he had suffered sexual orientation discrimination.
The Employment Tribunal heard that Mr Sambrook alleged his dismissal had been unreasonable and that there had been a degree of sexual orientation discrimination as he is gay.
His former employers Cineworld denied that Mr Sambrook’s sexual orientation had any affect on the decision to sack him, stating to the Tribunal that his dismissal was as a result of poor time-keeping and conduct.
Mr Sambrook claimed, however, that a heterosexual colleague who had also failed to turn up to work on several occasions had not been disciplined.
Mr Sambrook also alleged that his line manager had referred to him with the nickname “Peachy” for about 12 months before his dismissal in June 2012. Mr Sambrook alleged that as the term is slang for a gay person, it amounted to harassment.
The Employment Tribunal dismissed the claims of sexual orientation discrimination and harassment, but upheld the unfair dismissal decision.
The Tribunal found that there had been “serious flaws” in the disciplinary hearing procedure conducted by Cineworld which included allowing a disciplinary meeting to proceed, despite Mr Sambrook having raised a grievance against his manager. Mr Sambrook is in discussions with Cineworld regarding levels of compensation owed to him following the Tribunal’s ruling. Cineworld said that it is in the process of simplifying its timekeeping and employee absence procedures. A spokesperson for Cineworld said “we are very disappointed in this decision which absolutely does not reflect the values Cineworld places on promoting a fair and diverse workplace”.