Warwickshire Pride leader says he was subjected to homophobic abuse from road worker

The chair of the Warwickshire Pride group says he suffered homophobic abuse outside his home from a roadworks employee.

The employee's company has denied that any homophobic remarks were made but has apologised for the incident.

The argument occurred when Daniel Browne, the chair of the Warwickshire Pride group, attempted to park his car outside his Warwick home on Thursday September 26.

He said road workers had blocked access to his car park and refused to allow him to park his car so he could get home.

Daniel said: “One of the workers said that he doesn't have time to be giving people access to their homes. When I asked again for access to be given and explained that they're not supposed to block access to people's homes, the worker became abusive. His colleagues looked at me and laughed."

Daniel said that the employee swore at him and use a homophobic word.

“I was very angry and upset," he said. " I eventually did get access to my car park.”

The incident resulted in Daniel making a complaint with Warwickshire Council Council.

He added: “They took it very seriously and were understanding. WCC explained it was a contractor, Balfour Beatty, that were going to deal with it. Balfour Beatty has in fact outsourced the work to another company.”

After the incident Daniel took social media and made a series of tweets on his Twitter account about what happened.

Daniel said: “It wasn't taken seriously at first, but it was once I put it on Twitter. It shouldn't have taken me having a moan on Twitter for something to have been done.”

Daniel said he was contacted by the sub-contractor involved who he said had identified the worker involved, and that they had already gone through a disciplinary hearing. He was told that person had been taken off all council contract work and received a final written warning. He also said the company issued him a full apology.

A statement from Balfour Beatty gives a different account of what occurred during the incident.

A spokesperson Balfour Beatty Living Places said: “The safety of the public and our workforce is always our primary concern.

“An operative working for a sub-contractor was following company-wide health and safety policies by asking a member of the public not to enter a live work site.

“Whilst at no time was the operative homophobic or abusive, the interaction did fall below the high standards to which we hold ourselves and all those who work with and for us, to account.

“We have since taken the appropriate corrective action and the member of the public has been offered a full apology."

Daniel issued the following in response to the company's statement: “It's unfortunate that Balfour Beatty are now trying to erase the abuse I received from an employee of their sub-contractor.

“The sub-contractor acknowledged what happened to me and said their worker had received a final written warning.

“Now Balfour Beatty are stating there was no abuse, no homophobia and that I was rightly denied entry to a live work site.

“My car park and the road outside it was not a live work site. The workers had parked their vans over the entrance to the car park but were working a little further down the road.

“To say that I was rightly denied entry and that no abuse or homophobia took place is a further insult and is actually incorrect.

“I now call on Balfour Beatty to retract their untrue statement and to provide a written apology for the suffering that this has caused.

“Furthermore, I will be contacting Warwickshire County Council to ask them to conduct a full review into this and put something in place to protect other LGBT+ people from abuse.

“In addition, the incident will be reported to the police as a hate crime. Hate is unacceptable, as is the way Balfour Beatty are now releasing untrue statements. They should be utterly ashamed and I'd like to remind them of the existence of the Equality Act 2010.”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: "Warwickshire County Council does not comment on individual cases however we would like to remind all residents and visitors to Warwickshire, that hate has no place in modern society and certainly no place in our communities and we will challenge hate wherever we see it.

“Our message is simple: never tolerate hate crime, always report it and together we can make Warwickshire the best it can be. Residents are encouraged to find out more about hate crime and to report this by visiting: www.reporthatenow.com".