Private care home operator Barchester Healthcare fined £500,000 for sacking lesbian nurses because of their sexuality

Two lesbian nurses have been awarded up to £500,000 in compensation after they were sacked because of their sexuality.

Margaret Durman and Penny Smith were dismissed by private care homes operator Barchester 
after accusations that they allowed residents at a care home in Launceston, Cornwall, to be abused.

The couple won their case for sexual orientation discrimination at a tribunal last year. Last month, Barchester Healthcare lost its appeal.

The exact size of the payout is unknown, but the Royal College of Nursing, which represented the pair, said it was substantial and “a record”.

The tribunal report stated: “It is hard to see how any dismissal, conducted by an employer of such size, could be so very bad unless sexual orientation discrimination was the root cause of it.

Following their dismissals, both women were put on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list, which meant they could no longer work as nurses.

Both have undergone counselling and said their lives had been “ruined” by their ordeal.

Barchester Healthcare said its procedures had been reviewed in light of the tribunal findings.

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