Complaint under the Equal Status Act 2000
DEC - S2007 - 055
Davitt's Bar, Co. Waterford
(Represented by David Burke & Co. Solicitors)
Andrew Cawley 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 4th October 2002 Mr. Cawley attempted to gain entry to the nightclub in Davitt's Bar. He was with his girlfriend who is not a Traveller and they had come straight from home. She approached first and after being asked for identification she was allowed in. The doorman then placed a hand on Mr. Cawley's chest and moved him aside in the doorway. The doorman said he was not getting in. Mr. Cawley turned and walked away. He spoke to Gardai who knew he was not drunk. Mr. Cawley believes that the refusal was based solely on his membership of the Traveller community.
Summary of the Respondent's Case
The manager of the respondent premises, Mr. Hodman, spoke for the respondent. He indicated the pub's normal refusals policy where people may be refused because they had caused difficulties on a previous occasion or where they were intoxicated. He did not know the complainant and was not aware of the alleged incident. However, he stated that since the complainant was not known to him and it was his first time there it was therefore likely that the refusal was because the complainant was intoxicated. The door staff must make an instantaneous judgment as to a person's level of intoxication. The nightclub holds 1000 people and up to 200 may be refused on a busy night particularly at holiday times when underage people may attempt to gain entry.
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
I am satisfied that the complainant is a member of the Traveller community and that he was refused service on 4th October 2002. Based on the evidence presented to me I am satisfied that the complainant was well dressed and not intoxicated. His girlfriend, a non-Traveller, was allowed into the nightclub while the complainant was refused. In the absence of an alternative explanation, I find that the complainant has established facts from which it may reasonably be inferred that the complainant was discriminated against because of his membership of the Traveller community. Therefore I find that he has established a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller ground.
The respondent, who had been notified appropriately and was therefore aware of the incident within the required two months, was unable to present any evidence in respect of the incident. It was simply stated, without evidential support, that since the complainant was not known his refusal must have been because of his level of intoxication. This is insufficient to rebut the prima facie case of discrimination.
I find that the complainant was discriminated against on 4th October 2002 when he was refused entry to the respondent nightclub. I hereby order the respondent to pay the complainant €500 for the effects of the discrimination.
18th May 2007