Telegraph (UK) 16 Nov 2012
Adrian Smith lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40%, and was given a final written warning by Trafford Housing Trust (THT) after posting that hosting gay weddings in churches were “an equality too far”. The comments were not visible to the general public, and were posted outside work time, but the trust said he broke its code of conduct by expressing religious or political views which might upset co-workers. Mr Smith brought breach of contract proceedings, saying the trust acted unlawfully in demoting him. Today Mr Justice Briggs ruled in his favour at London’s High Court, in a case which will set a precedent for employees’ rights to free speech in the workplace.
…..Mr 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’. “My award of damages has been limited to less than £100 – but that is for technical legal reasons and the judge made it clear he was not able to award me a much larger sum. “But I didn’t do this for the money. I did this because there is an important principle at stake. “Britain is a free country where people have freedom of speech, and I am pleased that the judge’s ruling underlines that important principle. “But this sad case should never have got this far. Long ago, Trafford Housing Trust should have held their hands up and admitted they made a terrible mistake. Had they done this then my life would not have been turned upside down and my family and I would not have had to endure a living nightmare. “However, to the bitter end, they claimed I had broken equality policies and brought the Trust into disrepute – all because, like millions of people, I support traditional marriage. “Something has poisoned the atmosphere in Britain, where an honest man like me can be punished for making perfectly polite remarks about the importance of marriage.” He called on the Prime Minister to “think very carefully” before before changing the law on gay marriage because people who share his views could be “treated as outcasts”.