Reporter overturns tribunal ruling on gay security guard

A tribunal that banned the naming of a gay security guard and a woman who he said sexually harassed him, was forced to overturn the decision after a challenge by the INS News Agency.

The panel spent almost two hours debating the challenge to the restricted reporting order which they imposed without consulting the media.

INS reporter Andy Crick took on two barristers as he addressed the employment tribunal in Reading and quoted case law to back his claim that the order had been wrongly made.

The tribunal judge eventually discharged the order on day two of the tribunal after Crick put in an application on the grounds that it stopped the fair and contemporaneous reporting of the case.

On the first day of the four-day hearing, panel chairman Richard Byrne put the restriction in place prohibiting the naming of 46-year-old claimant Allwyn Rondeau, despite the fact he stated he did not mind his identity being in the public domain.

Rondeau, who has lived with his gay lover for over 15 years, claims he was sexually harassed by work colleague Lucy Chilton over the course of several months in 2006 when they worked at Heathrow Airport.

As well as the alleged incident while they were searching a jumbo jet, he also claimed she grabbed his hand and placed it on her breast while in a work vehicle.

He also claimed he was discriminated against by G4S Security Services and three senior managers because of his sexuality for their handling of the matter.

The order also prevented the news agency from identifying 42-year-old Ms Chilton, a named respondent.

INS editor Neil Hyde said: “I consulted our London lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, who provided an opinion and then, together with Andy, put together a detailed explanation which he could present to the tribunal.

“INS has had success in challenging tribunal decisions in the past – we once took an employment tribunal to a judicial review in the High Court and won. The result is now cited case law in the Employment Tribunals handbook,” he said.

Crick, who has been with INS for 18 months having previously been a reporter with the Slough Observer, said: “It was the first time I had been involved in a challenge at a tribunal.

“I was a little apprehensive to start with because the parties in the case were both represented by barristers. However, the panel gave me a full hearing and decided the agency was right.

“I am not sure I was very popular with the parties at the tribunal because It took up almost half a day which should have been spent hearing evidence.

“I was really pleased though, because it meant picture editor Ben Cawthra and I got a good showing with a page lead on the case in Wednesday’s Daily Mail.”

The tribunal continues.

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