Sajjadi v The Turk's Head

 
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OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF EQUALITY INVESTIGATIONS

DEC-S2002-101

File No. ES/2001/748

Equal Status Act 2000

Sajjad Sajjadi (Represented by Gerard Maguire & Co, Solicitors)
v.
The Turk’s Head

Equality - Discrimination - Race - Supply of goods and services - Refusal of admission to pub - Request for ID - Burden of proof - Vicarious liability - Equal Status Act 2000

Equal Status Act 2000 - Direct discrimination, section 3(1)(a) - Race ground, section 3(2)(h) - Supply of goods and services, section 5(1) - Refusal of admission to pub - Request for ID - Burden of Proof. - Vicarious liability, section 42

Date of Issue 31/07/2002
Dispute
1

This dispute concerns a complaint by Sajjad Sajjadi that he was discriminated against, contrary to the Equal Status Act 2000, by the Turks Head Pub, Dublin.

2

The complainant maintains that he was discriminated against on the ground of race in terms of sections 3(1)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the Equal Status Act 2000 in being denied a service which is generally available to the public contrary to Section 5(1) of the Act.

Summary of the Complaint
3

The complainant states that on 25 September 2001, he was refused admission to the Turks Head pub by a doorman despite producing a student ID card, containing a photo and showing that he was 33 years of age. The complainant claims that he was refused admission because of his race.

4

The respondents totally reject that they operate a discriminatory policy against anyone. They claim that the Turks Head has a policy of only accepting Garda Age Cards or Passports as proof of identification and that the complainant was refused admission because he could produce neither.

Decision
5

In light of the complainants age (33), and the fact that no allegation was made that the complainant had drink taken or had caused trouble before, the Equality Officer found that the complainant had suffered racial discrimination in not being admitted on production of his student card .

6

The Equality Officer found that the complainant had been discriminated against on the race ground and ordered that the respondents pay him the sum of €€500 for the distress, humiliation and loss of amenity suffered.

Complaint under the Equal Status Act 2000
Decision No. DEC-S2002-101
Sajjad Sajjadi
7

(Represented by Gerard Maguire & Co, Solicitors)

v
The Turk’s Head
1. Dispute
8

1.1 This dispute concerns a complaint by Sajjad Sajjadi that he was discriminated against, contrary to the Equal Status Act 2000, by the Turks Head Pub, Dublin.

9

The complainant maintains that he was discriminated against on the ground of race in terms of sections 3(1)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the Equal Status Act 2000 in being denied a service which is generally available to the public contrary to Section 5(1) of the Act.

2. Summary of the Complainants' Case
10

2.1 The complainant states that on 25 September 2001, he was refused admission to the Turks Head pub by a doorman despite producing a student ID card showing that he was 33 years of age. The complainant claims that he was refused admission because of his race.

3..
Summary of Respondent's Case
11

3.1 The respondents totally reject that they operate a discriminatory policy against anyone. They claim that the Turks Head has a policy of only accepting Garda Age Cards or Passports as proof of identification and that the complainant was refused admission because he could produce neither.

  1. 4 Delegation under the Equal Status Act, 2000

    4.1 This complaint was referred 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 1998 and under the Equal Status Act 2000, the Director has delegated this complaint to myself, Brian O’Byrne, 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, 2000.

  2. 5 Evidence of Parties

5.1 Complainant’s Evidence
Ÿ Mr Sajjadi has lived in Ireland for 8 years
12

Ÿ He applied for and was granted Irish citizenship several years ago

Ÿ He is originally from Azerbaijan
13

Ÿ He is currently a student in Bolton Street Technical College

14

Ÿ He was 33 years of age at the time of the alleged act of discrimination

15

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi has previously been in the Turks Head on 4 or 5 occasions. He had no difficulty gaining admission.

16

Ÿ He also considers himself a personal friend of Mr Marcus Danson who works for the Turks Head and appeared as a witness for the pub at the Hearing.

17

Ÿ On 25 September 2001, Mr Sajjadi arranged to meet some college friends in the Turks Head that evening.

18

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi arrived at the door of the Turks Head around 8.30 pm

19

Ÿ He states that he remembers two gentlemen standing at the entrance, Mr X, a doorman, and Mr Rory Keogh, the Manager.

20

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi recognised Mr Keogh from having been introduced to him previously in the Turks Head by his friend Marcus Danson

21

Ÿ When he went to enter, he states that Mr X blocked him with his arm and asked him for ID.

22

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi produced his student card, containing his photo and date of birth, but this was not acceptable to Mr X

23

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi then produced a student travel card and several bank cards. These also were not acceptable to Mr X who insisted that a passport was necessary. Mr Sajjadi did not have his passport with him.

24

Ÿ Mr Rory Keogh was standing beside Mr X during this period. Mr Keogh also looked at the student card when Mr X was examining it but walked inside without making any comment.

25

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi asked for permission to go inside and tell his friends that he would not be able to join them but this request was refused by Mr X.

26

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi remained at the entrance for up to 30 minutes until he was spotted by one of his friends inside.

27

Ÿ At his friend’s request, Mr Rory Keogh came to the front door and spoke to Mr X

28

Ÿ Mr Keogh then looked at Mr Sajjadi’s student card again and said to Mr X “This one’s OK”

29

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi was upset by Mr Keogh’s remark which he considered discriminatory

30

Ÿ Mr Sajjadi then went into the pub, explained to his friends what had happened.

Ÿ
31

Ÿ Because he was so upset, he decided to leave within a few minutes of meeting his friends.

5.2 Respondents’ Evidence
Evidence of Ms Rita Barcoe
Ÿ She is the General Manager of the Turks Head
32

Ÿ She has managed the Turks Head for over six years

Ÿ The pubs caters mainly for younger customers
33

Ÿ As it is located in the Temple Bar area, 70% of its business would come from a passing trade

Ÿ The Turks Head has a multi-national customer base
34

Ÿ The pub has a number of foreign nationals working for it

35

Ÿ Doormen are employed every night with more on duty at weekends

Ÿ Doormen are employed on contract from a security firm
36

Ÿ On foot of the Equal Status Act 2000, the pub drafted its own policy to be applied by its doormen

37

Ÿ The doorman who dealt with the complainant on the night (Mr X) was not available to attend the Hearing.

38

Ÿ Mr X was employed by the pub for over a year prior to the incident but has since left their employment.

39

Ÿ Ms Barcoe described Mr X as a gentle considerate person who she believed would not have engaged in or condoned any form of discriminatory treatment

40

Ÿ On seeing the complainant at the Hearing, Ms Barcoe accepted that she personally would not have seen any reason for requesting ID from him.

Evidence of Mr John Kelly, Head of Security
41

Ÿ John Kelly personally trains new door staff on arrival.

42

Ÿ The Turks Head has a strict security policy in place.

43

Ÿ Potential customers are refused if they appear underage, intoxicated or have caused trouble before.

44

Ÿ ID is sought where a person is unfamiliar or possibly underage. This provides an opportunity to assess a person’s condition

45

Ÿ The pub insists on Garda Age Cards or passports being produced where there is a question about someone’s age.

46

Ÿ The pub has experienced many cases where student cards had been faked to gain admission

47

Ÿ It is usual to ask a manager for a second opinion in cases where a doorman believes that a fake student ID card has been produced

48

Ÿ Student cards have been accepted for ID purposes in the past where door staff had no cause for concern about an individual

49

Ÿ Mr Healy accepted that, on meeting Mr Sajjadi at the Hearing, that he would not have thought him to be under-age.

50

Evidence of Mr Rory Keogh, Bar Manager with the Turks Head

51

Ÿ Mr Keogh does not recall meeting Mr Sajjadi prior to 25 September 2001

52

Ÿ Mr Keogh recalls Mr John Healy, a witness for the complainant at the...

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