Two important new cases raise the question of where to draw the boundaries in sexual orientation and religious discrimination claims, says David Massarella

Two judgments handed down at the end of December both relate, directly or indirectly, to sexual orientation discrimination. As it happens, neither of the claimants was gay.

In Stephen English v Thomas Sanderson [2008] EWCA 1421, first reported on ­ on 22 December, the Court of Appeal held that it is discriminatory to subject a work colleague to mockery ­suggesting that he is homosexual, even when his tormentors know for a fact that he is straight. In London Borough of Islington v Ladele [2008] UKEAT 0453/08 (see SJ, 19 December 2008), the EAT considered what happens when there is a conflict between an organisation’s commitment to gay rights and the rights of one of its employees who – as a matter of religious c...

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