Every so often we come across a news story that revolts and appalls in equal measure.
The case of 28-year-old Daniel Robson and their experience of workplace persecution at Northern Gas and Power for some reason has really got through to us. It's not the most extreme example. In terms of duration, it's relatively short.
But it made us stop. We think primarily because it just makes you confront the ignorance and intolerance that bubbles under the surface at many workplaces often hidden under the cloak of 'bantz'.
Daniel's first day at work was punctuated with the words: 'Great. There is a f***ing bender in the office.' Imagine day one and your card has been marked. The emotional landscape of work life determined. Plenty of sequels followed: repeated usage of words with which many of us are all too familiar. Perpetrators should be ashamed of their abusiveness and their sheer lack of imagination. The chosen epithets have been gay-baiting currency since the 60s and prior.
Employer Northern Gas and Power has had to cough up up £36,000 in damages plus a further £18k for what the judge described as 'aggravated features' of the case at a tribunal in Leeds. The company itself describes its team as 'dynamic and diverse'. It is a significant business with some 700+ employees operating in a very specialised and lucrative market. But guess what? That 'dynamic and diverse' sloganeering didn't extend to Daniel's immediate colleagues (his victimisation was not simply by one individual but by a group).
Paradoxically, they seem quite a sensitive group. Offended by the concept of Pride for example according to reports read out at the tribunal.
Some might argue (we wouldn't) that £36k should go some way to alleviating damage done. Legally, that's the thinking. The truth is having to endure a sustained exposure to hateful vitriol in the workplace damages way beyond the compensation offered by money. Presiding Judge Rita Rogerson's words may have helped when they described Northern Gas and Power company culture as: 'Toxic involving daily use of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic language.'
Not great for a company brochure.