British worker demoted over 'opposing gay marriages' punished unlawfully, judge rules
A British man who was demoted at work after he expressed his opposition to gay marriage on Facebook was punished unlawfully for 'doing nothing wrong', a UK judge has ruled.
Adrian Smith lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40 percent, and was given a final written warning by Trafford Housing Trust (THT) after he posted on Facebook that hosting gay weddings in churches were "an equality too far".
The judge said the damages awarded to Smith were insufficient for the "serious" nature of the trust's conduct, and he could have received substantially more in another court, The Telegraph reports.
"Mr Smith was taken to task for doing nothing wrong, suspended and subjected to a disciplinary procedure which wrongly found him guilty of gross misconduct, and then demoted to a non-managerial post with an eventual 40pc reduction in salary," he said.
According to the paper, the dispute began in February 2011 when Smith saw an article on the BBC News website headed "Gay church marriages get go ahead", and linked to it on his personal Facebook page, which can only be viewed by friends, and friends of friends, adding the comment: "An equality too far."
After winning the case, Smith said in a statement: "I'm pleased to have won my case for breach of contract today. The judge exonerated me and made clear that my comments about marriage were in no way 'misconduct'."
"Britain is a free country where people have freedom of speech, and I am pleased that the judge's ruling underlines that important principle," he added.