The sacking of Andy Gray is unlikely to mean the end of this increasingly heated debate, especially so for Mr Gray who has now appointed Lawyers over the termination of his contract. Unacceptable sexism or just ‘blokey banter’? Could Sky have really been seen to condone such behaviour by keeping him on the payroll?
Peter and Hazelmary Bull are to lodge an appeal against the ruling last week that found their guest house policies to be discriminatory, another case which itself has prompted much debate and comment especially as to what should be a proportionate response in all the circumstances. This question or proportionality is at the crux of the issue.
Discrimination laws are applicable to each and every employer and employee no matter what their status. Only recently an employment tribunal found Miriam O’Reilly to be the victim of age discrimination by the BBC and Ron Atkinson also saw his pundit career assigned to history for his own ‘off mike’ racist comments. Few people at that time felt the response to be disproportionate.
Those representing Mr Gray in any action against Sky for the termination of his contract will be facing an uphill struggle. The government has reiterated in the Equality Act 2010 that discrimination shall not be tolerated in any guise and that compensation for victims is levied against discriminators at an appropriately high level. Employers should be vigilant to act against such discriminatory behaviours to ensure that their own working policies adhere to the relevant legislation or face the consequences.