Jobcentre staff in UK probed after calling homosexual couple 'gay boys'

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London, Dec 30 (ANI): Workers at a jobcentre in Britain have come under the scanner after claims emerged that they had called a homosexual couple 'gay boys'.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided to investigate after Steve Mellor, 23, and Roy Pearson, 28, claimed that they were victimised for being homosexual whenever they went to claim their benefits.

Mellor and Pearson, who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and housing benefit together since mid-November, said they were verbally abused and deliberately given less help than others because of their sexuality.

Mellor, who had to start claiming benefits because of a long-term illness made worse by stress, wrote to the centre last week.

"When we went in on Wednesday to find out about Christmas payments we got no help whatsoever, so we started walking away," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

"Comments then came from staff such as 'those two gay boys always come in for information' while they pointed and laughed at us," he stated.

Mellor said the abuse started when they declared themselves a couple to the centre, in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and had no trouble when they claimed benefits separately.

"The way we have been treated has been getting worse since we announced we were a couple. You just don't expect this in 2010," Pearson, who left his job as a care worker in October, stated.

The pair, from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, has been living together for five months, and they also claim a Jobcentre worker told them he was trained to "deal" with people like them.

That claim is denied by the DWP, but it confirmed it was investigating.

"Jobcentre Plus is committed to treating all individuals fairly and equally regardless of their sexual orientation," a DWP spokesman said.

"We will not tolerate discrimination and will take any allegations seriously. We are aware of this complaint and are investigating," he added. (ANI)

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