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DJ Fired After Telling Radio Station 'I'm Gay!'

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A DJ who came out of the closet and was fired by a Christian radio station plans to take his case to an employment tribunal to show that employees should not be dismissed on the grounds of their sexuality.

Ian Carrington worked at Refresh FM in Manchester as a volunteer producer and radio presenter.  He says the station fired him after he told them he was gay.

Refresh is owned by the Victoria Park Christian Fellowship.

Carrington told he knew there could be some controversy over his decision to come out but said he wanted to be honest about his situation:

"I came out to friends in 1993 or 1994 and then publicly in 1998.  It's not something I'm necessarily naive about as I've been through it before.

"But I was growing increasingly uncomfortable and I needed to keep my integrity.  I said, 'I realise you might have a problem with this, but I'm gay'."

The radio station's 'steering committee' promptly fired Carrington, reasoning he could no longer be a presenter because being a "practising homosexual" meant he was "living in a state of active sin."

The committee also told him that the church could face difficulties in raising funds if audiences were offended by his sexuality.

He said that he felt that his colleagues at the station were friends but the loss of his volunteering job was "devastating and hurtful."

Even though he did not qualify as an employee at the station - he worked there as an unpaid volunteer - Mark Nolan, a solicitor from Russell Jones & Walker, who specialises in discrimination and unfair dismissal law, believes that the fact Carrington did not have an employment contract is irrelevant:

"There's no legal reason under European law why an unpaid voluntary worker should be denied rights given to paid colleagues when it comes to protection from discriminatory treatment.  Employment law does protect religious beliefs but not at the expense of the gay community.  It is another example of a misguided employer going too far.

"If it can be established that he was a worker, and I think it can be, then he is covered by employment law and is entitled to a solution at the Employment Tribunal.  A contract is irrelevant."

** Additional information & advice **

You can obtain further information about workplace sexual orientation discrimination law from , the and the .

Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to .  You can be in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.

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