A licensed premises has agreed to pay compensation of €3,500 to a customer with a brain tumour after he was mistaken for a drunk when asked to leave the premises.
The man was in the pub celebrating the end of rehabilitative treatment for his brain injury. His condition causes a limp, and this was interpreted by staff as signs of being drunk. Despite explaining his disability directly to staff, the man was asked to leave the premises, which he said “caused him significant distress and embarrassment”.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) provided direct legal representation to the man in his application to the district court for redress under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003. The matter was settled without court a hearing after the licensed premises agreed to issue a meaningful apology to the man alongside compensation of €3,500.
Furthermore, the management of the premises agreed to attend an annual equality training course and to report back to the IHREC under the agreed settlement, which saw no admission of liability.
According to a spokesman for the IHREC:
The licensed premises also agreed to provide a policy on treating all customers equally and making reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities in line with obligations under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 and Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.
Under its legal functions, the commission can, in some circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the courts.
Chief commissioner of the IHREC, Emily Logan said: “The commission welcomes this legal settlement, and the clear message it sends that discrimination in private services, including licensed premises, is not acceptable and can be challenged.
As this case demonstrates, issues arising from brain injury should not mean you risk discrimination when out socialising. It is important that people providing services are trained and supported by employers in understanding the varied needs of their customers.
Ms Logan said the Intoxicating Liquor Act “is acting as a barrier for people in accessing justice when they face discrimination in licenced pubs, clubs or hotels, because it says that they must take their case to the district court, often requiring legal advice and resources”.
“The commission believes that people should be encouraged to report discrimination by being able to have those cases heard in the non-court setting of the Workplace Relations Commission,” she said.