Mr. Laurence Ward
(Represented by Michael McDarby Solicitors)
Burkes Trading as Canavans Public House
Mr. Laurance Ward referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations under the Equal Status Act 2000. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, the Director then delegated the case to me, Bernadette Treanor, 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 Act.
Summary of the Complainant's case
On 11/10/2002 Mr. Ward was in the respondent premises with his wife for the evening. At around 8pm on 12/10/2002 Mr. Ward entered the respondent premises alone and ordered a drink. He was told to come back in an hour. When he returned he spoke to Mr. Burke and was told that Mr. Burke had been threatened a few weeks before. A woman came out and told Mr. Burke that customers were waiting. Mr. Ward walked away saying they would hear from his solicitor. He spoke to the doorman later who told Mr. Ward that basically they did not want him in.
Summary of the Respondent's Case
Ms. Burke, for the respondent, stated that she started work at 7pm on 11/10/2002 and that the Wards were there when she arrived. They were with another gentleman and both men were drinking alcohol. There was live music on that night which began around 10pm to 10:30pm. It was playing a while when Ms. Burke refused to serve the gentleman with the Wards, telling him they had had enough and she would not give them any more that night. On the 12/10/2002 she started work at 8pm. As she arrived Mr. Ward was shouting and using bad language to her husband at the door of the pub. He was very aggressive. He wanted to know why he had been refused the night before. She went past and entered the pub. The shouting got worse so she went out and asked him to move away, telling her husband that there were customers waiting. Mr. Ward said they were discriminating against him and that he was going to sue them. She was not aware of any interaction inside the pub earlier that night. This was the first incident involving Mr. Ward.
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
I am satisfied, and the respondent accepted, that the complainant is a member of the Traveller community. It is agreed that there was a refusal of service. What is in dispute is when this refusal took place and why. The complainant maintains it took place on 12/10/2002 and was unprompted. The respondent maintains it took place on 11/10/2002 and was based on a decision that the complainant and his companion had had enough to drink. Based on the evidence presented to me at the hearing, I find the respondent's version of events more compelling and I am satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the refusal took place on 11/10/2002. I am also satisfied that the refusal was based on a decision that the complainant and his companion had had enough to drink. I am further satisfied that the respondent would have refused a non-Traveller in similar circumstances. Therefore I find that the complainant was not less favourably treated than a non-Traveller would have been in similar circumstances. The complainant has therefore failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller ground.
I find that the complainant has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller ground. This decision is therefore in favour of the respondent.
30th May 2006