A Catholic member of the Territorial Army has received damages for suffering sectarian harassment and discrimination for more than 11 years in Northern Ireland, it emerged today.
Damages of £32,500 (€46,792) were agreed.
The Fair Employment Tribunal found the part-time soldier, whose name has been withheld, was also passed over for promotion, with a less qualified candidate benefiting.
The man was subjected to “sectarian jokes and quips”.
Loyalist songs were also sung in his presence and tunes were also played with particular religious and political connotations.
The tribunal ruled that even though the jokes and quips were regarded as “banter,” and he didn’t complain, they still had an impact on him.
It also ruled the part-time soldier’s experiences were indicative of a culture which existed in the Territorial Army and it highlighted the importance of an effective Equal Opportunities Policy.
The Equality Commission’s chief commissioner Joan Harbison welcomed the decision.
“The Ministry of Defence has the same responsibilities towards their staff as any other employer,” she said.
“This case emphasises how important it is for all employers to ensure that they promote a good and harmonious working environment and an atmosphere in which no employee feels under threat or intimidated because of their religious belief or political opinion.
“It is particularly important that employers recognise the need to put in place practical measures which will give effect to this, such as, equal opportunity policies and support them with good relevant training on equal opportunities issues.”