Challenging race discrimination against Irish Travellers

Case name: M & Ors v A Pub

A group of Irish Travellers were refused service in a pub because of their race. We supported them to bring a successful claim for race discrimination.

Legal issue

Race discrimination against Irish Travellers in access to services.

Background

A group of five Irish Travellers were refused service in a pub on the grounds of their ethnicity. The group challenged the pub in the County Court, arguing that the refusal to serve them was discriminatory.

Why we were involved

There are thought to be at least 60,000 Gypsies and Irish Travellers in the UK. They are legally recognised ethnic groups and are protected under equality and human rights laws.

Nonetheless, discrimination is common and this contributes to the inequalities they experience.

It is our duty to uphold the Equality Act and we can support individuals to bring legal challenges where they have been victims of discrimination.

We wanted to confirm that the pub had broken the law and help make sure that other Gypsies and Travellers aren’t treated like this in the future.

What we did

We paid legal costs so that the group could bring their claim to court.

What happened

The Travellers’ claim was successful and each received £4,000 in compensation.

We used the case as an opportunity to highlight the rights of Gypsies and Travellers and the obligation on business owners to provide equal access to services.

Who will benefit and how

Gypsies’ and Travellers’ ethnicity is recognised by the law. Unfortunately, refusal of service simply on the grounds of their race is a problem across the hospitality industry.

The outcome of this case and the publicity it generated has highlighted that refusing to serve anyone because of their race breaks the law.

Our aim is that it will help reduce the discrimination experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, which sadly remains all too common.

Making sure that equality and human rights laws are upheld in respect of Gypsies and Travellers remains a priority for us.

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