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September 15, 2004

£43,000 for sacked deaf man

From: Glasgow Evening Times, UK - Sept 15, 2004

A packer at a whisky plant fired over accusations he sexually harassed a colleague has won compensation for being unfairly sacked.

Joey Devlin, who is profoundly deaf, has been awarded £43,438 after he denied sexually harassing Michelle Hanlon by touching her breast at William Grant & Sons in Bellshill.

Mr Devlin, 64, from Paisley, who had 21 years' service, said he had never touched the woman sexually. He said he had cuddled men and women as a friendly gesture, nothing more.

But he was sacked following a complaint from Ms Hanlon in February 2001 that he kept touching her even after she had told him to stop it.

Mr Devlin's brother William, who represented him at the Glasgow tribunal, said Joey's only means of communicating was by touch. He said: "It's a part of every day of his working life."

Mr Devlin's compensation was reduced by 25% to £43,438 after tribunal chairman Kenny McGowan said he should have realised his conduct to Ms Hanlon was "not welcomed".

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