The Legally Bland case was an attempt to establish that in the UK people should not be dismissed for private BDSM activities.
If someone is involved in BDSM they run two risks, in addition to those related to actual play.
One risk is being monstered in public.
The other risk is losing your job.
If an employer starts to investigate, they or their lawyers quickly see that there are few legal precedents in the employment law field (note Spanner etc are criminal cases). The ‘leading’ case is Pay v UK starting in 2000, and there it was held that an employer can dismiss.
Arguably, public acceptance of BDSM has grown since then. Fifty Shades of Gray has definitely increased awareness. Legal judgements certainly reflect one’s right to a private life far more than a generation ago. LGBT activists have blazed a helpful trail for growing acceptance of alternative sexualities.
The significance of Legally Bland’s case was that Leigh Day, the highly rated employment law firm Backlash enabled her to use, believed she provided an opportunity to overturn the Pay precedent.
Backlash could also help ensure others in the same predicament find chapter and verse on what to do to prevent them being sacked. From our extreme images work, we find this risk arises quite often.
Indeed Backlash will be handling several cases at any one moment. But most victims don’t want it talked about it. We respect their wish for privacy.
Since privacy lay at the heart of the LB case we were strongly advised not to provide identifiable details. After the case we are bound by the Judge’s reporting restrictions but will explain as much as we can. We have Legally Bland’s consent to do so.
Legally Bland won. As it happened her employer never took the case to a higher court, so no binding precedent was set. Her legal costs were about £18k.
The other pages in this section outline the process for others facing a similar situation.