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tibar

Disability Discrimination

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Hello there,  I would be most grateful for any help or views on a distressing incident that occurred last summer, I can supply more info.  I am a 70 years old retired man and quite severely disabled I use a Mobilty Scooter and walking aids.  I had recently been admitted to hospital with an ongoing heart condition.  

 

I was quite a frequent customer of my local Pub/Restaurant and I had previously submitted several verbal complaints regarding short measures of drinks.  The both managers took exception to this and told me that I was "Never happy until I found something to moan about"  The atmosphere in the Pub generally declined towards myself and I was certainly made to feel unwelcome.  Matters came to a head when I witnessed a dog, inside the Pub, attack a child (A Toddler) who had accidentally trodden on the Dog`s tail.  Fortunately the parents of the child and the owners of the dog reacted quickly and no injury occurred .  The pub was very busy at this time and the incident went somewhat unnoticed.  I brought the incident to the attention of one of the managers and he actually laughed, it was monstrous.  When the pub became quieter I remonstrated with the said manager and I stated that IMO it was dangerous to have dogs and children in such close proximity whist food is being served.  He became extremely unpleasant and told me in no uncertain terms that if I did not like it then to "Stop coming back"

 

Two days later whilst I was out in the next village with friends my wife rang to inform me that the Owner of the pub had called around to our home and told me wife that I was barred from the pub and to never venture there again; my wife was distressed, she never frequented the pub and the owner and my wife are not well known to each other.  It is my opinion that he had no right whatsoever, to include my wife in this matter and to do so within her own home whilst I was not present.   

 

I returned home then went to the pub to enquire why the owner had visited my home, and upset my wife.  Whilst I was on the pub car park I was met by both the owner and the manager who both informed that I was barred as I had upset staff members.  No suitable explanation was forthcoming from the owner for the reason of his unwanted and unwelcome visit plus his aggressive manner whilst he talked down to my wife.  They both informed me that they would forcefully remove me if I did not leave the car park.

 

Due to the immense stress I was enduring I felt an urgent need to use the toilet, when i requested to do so I was denied.  I could not believe it, I was in such a hopeless state and was utterly distraught.  Finally I struggled out of the car park but entered the front of the pub and headed for the toilet however they caught up with me and I sat down on a stool and refused to move until i was granted access to the toilet, however they were both adamant that it would not be allowed.  I reminded them that i was disabled but the owner stated that I was `Milking It` and to "Go behind a hedge".  At least half an hour passed, since I had entered the pub, and the owner stated that he would call the Police, I had gathered my thoughts a little by this time and I stated to them that I would call the Police myself and then see if I would be allowed to use the toilets.  I feel the owner began to realise that he might be in trouble as when I began to make the phone call he stated that I could use the toilet however he would accompany me; i had no option but to concur with his somewhat sick condition.  I was forced to defecate whilst he stood immediately outside the door.  My humiliation and embarrassment was complete. 

 

Two days later I wrote to the owner and informed that I was intending to sue him for disability discrimination related offences.  He chose to disregard what I had stated and replied stating that he had no intention of lifting the ban.  I replied stating that I had no desire to ever enter one of his pubs ever again and that he should re-read my letter and respond to the charges.  He did not reply.

 

I issued proceedings against him in the Small Claim Court for less than £400  (Some of my clothes and a she were damaged due to soiling).  He, rather surprisingly, instructed a solicitor who has threatened me with costs being awarded against me by the court which could run into many many thousands of pounds and that there was clearly no case for her client to answer.  I must admit to being rather alarmed.  The owner is a wealthy man.  

 

The court have advised mediation and have even offered to award one hour of such FOC; I agreed, the defendant refused.  We now have a date for a hearing and I do not know exactly what to expect.  His court response states that he will be bringing two witnesses with him yet there was only he, the owner and the manager who were present. 

 

Much of this was audio recorded and the owner is not disputing much of my statement.  I never threatened violence or used bad language during this most unpleasant incident.   

 

Any help and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Kind regards.  --  tibar

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I'm afraid this is completely out of my experience but I seem to recollect that a publican has a right to bar whosoever they please from their pub and I suppose that the only grounds for challenging that might be that the ban had been applied in a discriminatory way.

On the basis of what you say here, none of it seems to have been discriminatory – and even the rather unkind refusal to let you go to the loo – does not appear to have been motivated by any intent to discriminate – simply to prevent somebody who was banned from entering the premises. It wouldn't surprise me if they were entitled to do so.

The fact that the publican then allowed you to use the loo seems to me – not to have been prompted by kindness – but rather to avoid scandal.

If you have bought a small claim then as long as you litigate reasonably, the small claims rules relating to costs apply and it is unlikely that a judge would be moved to apply discretion to waive those rules.

Maybe it would be a good idea if you put up the claim form here in PDF format – and also a defence.

I would also be interested to see a PDF copy of the solicitor's letter – which on the basis of what you say may well be abusive and that they are threatening you with costs when they know full well that in the usual run of things, costs would not apply in the circumstances.

However, you say that you have sued him in the Small Claims Court – but has actually been allocated to the small claims track? What precisely have you relied upon as your cause of action – and does that cause action fall within the small claims rules? Also, how much have you claimed for – and in compensation for what kind of damage? You would most normally have to demonstrate some actual calculable loss – calculable in money terms – in order to bring an action.


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As @BankFodder mentions, they have every right to refuse you on the premises and serve you.

 

"Right to refuse entry

The age-old right of a licensee to refuse entry to whomever he wishes still remains and a landlord is not obliged to serve anyone just because they are willing to pay. A pub is a private place and the landlord can make the rules."

 

I don't think you have much in your favor as none of these events seem to be in any relation to discrimination more so and I hate to say it you rubbing them up the wrong way.

 

Dog friendly pubs are now becoming more of a thing and as long as they aren't in the kitchen they aren't deemed a H&S risk. If the parents and dog owner where happy with how they handled it you should have just left it at that, I mean if someone accidentally startled / hurt you wouldn't turn round happy to see them.

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Also, if you are complaining about short measures then I think the correct way to have done it would have been surreptitiously to take photographs of the glass – if it was beer – or even to decant the liquid out into another glass and take it home and measure it.

If it was spirits then I think I would go in with my own graduated shot glass and decant the liquid into that and then take pictures. Selling short measures is really quite serious but I think it would have been unwise to challenge it in the pub without having evidence in your pocket so that you could rely on the evidence if later on there was a dispute or a denial.

Do I get the impression that you simply called them out about it in front of other customers?


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Many thanks to you both.  Yes the more I am nearing the court case the more I am becoming concerned.  The owner certainly must feel he is going to win hence his refusal to mediate.  

 

I am not anti dogs in a pub but this was a really busy day and it was asking for trouble to simply let them cram into the same area as children, however I understand Pixel`s point, I have most certainly rubbed them up the wrong way.  

 

I was of the opinion that a licencee was legally bound to allow a disabled person to use a toilet and that this would apply even if he disliked that person and did not want him as a customer.  

 

I will go through to docs and get back to you.

 

Once again many thanks and regards.

 

tibar

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Re the short measures.  I have always been put out when I receive short measures but usually there is no problem, just a request to "Top it up please" does the trick.  However in this pub and especially with the female manager it had developed into an issue.  She would say. loudly, you like flat beer do you Mona Lisa?  I was also called by her a `Raspberry` Rhyming slang for a Raspberry Ripple IE a Cripple.  Non of this was correctly documented by myself in an official manner and I realise that I can not use it.   I just can not understand why I continued to use the pub.

 

I will check about the court details but I am thinking about just walking away.  Just hope that if I pull out that it would be an end to the matter.  As stated the owner is a wealthy man, should have said VERY wealthy, and I have already cost him a lot of money.

 

I will be back in touch.  Kind regards again, much appreciated.  --  tibar  

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If you have any witnesses as to her use of that kind of language towards you then that will be very helpful


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It may make you more of a target if you ever saw them in public but you could air your concerns on their social media profiles and trip review sites, but then that could open you up to them throwing around the remark of slander.

 

The raspberry comment could mean something else, it is also known to be rhyming slang fart "Raspberry Tart," I don't like to say it but I see you mention your age, fart could have been meant in the context of "old fart."

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Many thanks again.  Yes her comments were often witnessed but I have missed the boat on all of this and I was just of the impression that the toilet refusal would have sufficed.  This happened last summer.  I blame my self for not taking formal details, photos etc, and submitting a formal complaint but I was anxious to avoid being considered as not being able to take a joke.  This however resulted in a concerted Witch Hunt against me.

 

Time has softened my resolve somewhat and as long as I am not hit with a massive shock at court I feel that I should continue.  However if the consensus of opinion is that I shall probably lose i might just throw in the towel and withdraw. 

 

I shall dig up the court details and the solicitor`s email and submit it on here if that is OK? 

 

Once again many thanks and regards, it really is appreciated.  --  tibar   

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Thanks PIXel,  Yes I might well consider using social media.  The owner following me into the toilet was disgraceful and I have irrefutable proof of this (Audio Recording).  He also clearly states, on the recording, whilst he was disallowing me the use of the toilet, that I could go behind a hedge.  I am very frail.  

 

Thanks again.  --  tibar 

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You are more than likely to lose your claim for several reasons.

1 the  landlord may refuse service of anyone without giving a reason and is obliged to refuse servce to certain people such as police officers on duty, prostitutes plying for trade and peopel who are obviously intoxicared.

2 you were refused entry but still tried to get into the premises and that makes you a trespasser at best.

3 there was no refusal baed upon your disability, you did not state you were disabled before you fist went into the pub and never made it clear what reasonable adjustments you could ahve expected them to make to enable you to visit.

4 there is a difference between disability and infirmity due to old age so anyone asking for adjustments must have the merits of that request based upon the abilities of peope in your age group. You didnt do this as it appears there was no necessity. What is good business practice isnt the same as what is required by law so if the building is old then they may well decide not to put up handrails or ramps and there is no way they can be forced to until they apply for a change via the planning process

5 It is legal for you to go "behind a hedge" under many circumstances but  there was no lawful reason for you to reenter the premises when told you are barred. They would be within their rights to physically remove you using whatever force they thought  was necessary so even "reasonable force" doesnt apply.( that is why pubs can employ bouncers and shops cant) Remaining there for the length of time you didd means that the soiling of yourself was a result entirely of your own making.

 

It is almost not  possible to serve short measures of standard spirits as they come from an optic, beer is served in standard marked glasses and the head is part of the pint, other drinks are not prescribed as to the size of a measure so there is no set measure for a serving of Baileys for example and wine by the glass is measured so people know how much they are drinking rather than it being prescribed so on what basis can you state they were serving short measures? Slandering them  and expecting to remain  being welcomed as a customer is an odd thing to do.

 

For the hearing process, the 2 witnesses will be him and the manager, you are taking 1 witness- yourself.

As for  the claim, and costs each side will have their costs limited unless they are judged to have behaved unreasonably. That refers to their conduct from the time of the issue of the letter before action  and until the judges determination, conduct before the action istself is not considered because that is why both sides are there.

that means he wont get his money back for hiring a lawyer other than the most basic level for actual court attendance.

 

All of the things you mention about dogs etc are matters for the council licencing dept or EH people if animals are in food service areas.

 

you should have taken advice before starting this venture, you may have got somewhere if you had chosen the right fight but I see no prospect of success with what you have presented but I also see a claim for thousands in lawyers fees being similarly rejected.

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Yup, you went out your way to agitate the situation. You were asked to leave and you nipped round front and went in anyway.  I would stop this claim before it costs you a small fortune. Swallow your pride and move on. If you have cost the landlord money so far don't be surprised if they want that back.

Edited by ashmk

Ash.

 

If you think I have helped you, please add to my reputation by clicking the star button to the left.

Thankyou.

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Many thanks for replies.  Yes I feel that you are both correct and I shall withdraw the claim.  

 

I instigated the claim through the small claim process and agreed to mediation. 

 

They were fully aware of my disabilities, I was a regular there and used a disability scooter and walking aids.  I clearly requested to use the toilet because of me being disabled and that I was in urgent need.  My request plus their refusal are on the audio tape, which incidentally they have supplied.  I also offered to leave straight away if I was allowed to use the Loo, this prompted the comment of "Go behind a hedge". 

 

I understand now that I did not seek advice before I issued proceedings, however I did not seek confrontation. I held a genuine belief that a Public House must grant toilet access to a disabled person regardless of a personal dislike, I was not abusive.  I seem to have got it all wrong.   

 

The owner chose to instruct a solicitor who has threatened thousands of pounds cost claim.  I am hoping that this is bluster and I am in the process of posting, on here, a copy of the claim plus the email from the solicitor which makes the threat.  This will be posted next week as I need my Son to assist me.   

 

I feel such a fool now however I am grateful to all on here who have given this sobering advice.

 

Kind Regards  tibar  

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The law doesn’t prevent a disabled person being barred, only them being barred because they are disabled. They will undoubtedly hold out, from your description of events (let alone theirs!) that you were barred based on their perception of your behaviour and not your disability.

 

If you were barred before you asked to use the toilet they had no obligation to let you do so.

 

If this is in the small claims track the costs they can claim are very limited, but even so : pick your battles!

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