Ms. Teresa McCarthy (Ms. Una O'Neill Support Person) V MacDades Courthouse Nightclub (Tralee) (Represented by Mannix & Co., Solicitors)
Summary of Decision DEC-S2005-196
Equal Status Act, 2000 - Direct discrimination, section 3(1) - Traveller community,
Section 3(2)(i) - age, Section 3(2)(f) - supply of goods and services, Section 5(1) - access to a nightclub, prima facie case.
The complainant alleges that she was discriminated against by the respondent on the Traveller community ground in that she was refused access to a service which is generally available to the public. The complainant submitted that the respondent discriminated against her in terms of Sections 3(1)(a), and 3(2)((i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000 contrary to Section 5(1) of that Act.
Summary of Case
The complainant is a member of the Traveller community and submitted that she was refused access to the respondent's nightclub because of this. The respondent submitted that the complainat's husband had too much to drink and it was for this reason the whole party were refused entry to the nightclub.
The Equality Officer found that the complainant did not produce sufficient evidence to substantiate her complaint of discriminatory treatment. She concluded that the complainant did not establish a prima facie case and that she was not discriminated against by the respondent on the Traveller community ground contrary to Section 3(1) and 3(2) (i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000 and in terms of Section 5(1) of that Act.
Equality Officer Decision
Ms. Teresa McCarthy (Tralee)
(Ms. Una O'Neill, Support Person)
MacDades Courthouse Nightclub
(Represented by Mannix & Co., Solicitors)
Delegation under Equal Status Acts, 2000-2004
The complainant referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations on 4th March, 2003 under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 - 2004. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and 2004 and under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 - 2004, on the 5th September 2005 the Director delegated the case to me, Marian Duffy, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part III of the Equal Status Acts, 2000 - 2004. The hearing of the complaint took place in Tralee on 16th November 2005.
1.1 The dispute concerns a claim by Ms. Teresa McCarthy that she was discriminated against by Mac Dades Courthouse Nightclub on the Traveller Community ground, in that she was refused a service which is generally available to the public. The complainant alleges that the respondent discriminated against her in terms of Sections 3(1)(a), and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000 contrary to Section 5(1) of that Act.
2 Summary of the Case
2.1 The complainant's case is that she was refused access to the respondent's nightclub on New Year's Eve 2002. She said that she was in the company of her husband and another couple, her brother-in-law and his wife, and as they approached the door the doormen blocked the entrance and they were told that they would not be let in. Ms. McCarthy said that she asked for a reason and was not given any. She said that they were then asked for identification by the security man and they all produced their driving licenses, but they were still refused admission. Ms. McCarthy denied the respondent's contention that her husband Mr. James McCarthy had too much to drink. She believes she was refused because she is a Traveller.
The respondent's case is that Ms. McCarthy's husband had too much to drink. Mr. Gerard Kearns, Head Doorman on the night, said that as the party approached the door he noticed that one of them, Mr. McCarthy was unsteady on his feet and it appeared that he had too much drink consumed. He refused the party entry for this reason. He said that he would have let Ms. McCarthy in but she refused to go in without her husband. He said that then Mr. McCarthy became abusive and some of the party tried to stop other customers getting in to the nightclub. He eventually called the Gardaí who spoke to the complainants and they left after speaking to the Gardaí.
3. Conclusions of the Equality Officer
3.1 The complainant did not provide any witnesses who were present on the night to substantiate her complaint of discriminatory treatment. The complainant's husband and her brother-in-law and his wife were with her when she was refused were not called to give evidence on her behalf. Mr. Kearns, for the respondent, gave evidence of what happened on the night and stated that customers who have too much alcohol consumed are not admitted to the nightclub. He also provided in evidence a copy of a security report he made on the night. I have concluded on the balance of probabilities that the evidence of the respondent was more compelling than that provided by the complainant. I am satisfied therefore that the complainant has failed to provide evidence to establish that she was treated less favourably than a non-Traveller would have been treated in similar circumstances. I find that the complainant has not established a prima facie case of discriminatory treatment.
5.1 On the basis of the foregoing I find that the complainant was not discriminated against by the respondent on the Traveller community ground contrary to Section 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000 and in terms of Section 5(1) of that Act.
20th December, 2005