The EAT has, today, held that the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003 do not prohibit homophobic banter against a heterosexual man who is known not to be gay.
The Claimant, who was heterosexual, was subjected to sexual innuendo by his colleagues to the effect that he was homosexual, even though they knew he was not. The 'joke' arose because he had (a) attended a boarding school and (b) lived in Brighton.
In English v Thomas Sanderson Blinds, HHJ Peter Clark held that the 2003 Sexual Orientation Regulations do not cover this form of 'homophobic banter'. He described the position as unsatisfactory and has given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.