Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

£2,500 payout for man told his face didn't fit

Compensation for delivery driver asked to leave nightclub because of his looks

A man with a facial disfigurement who was ordered out of a Belfast nightclub because of his looks has been awarded £2,500 compensation, it has been revealed.

Father-of-two Raymond Crowe (47) was told to leave Thompsons Garage in January 2006.

Staff allegedly told him: "You don't fit our criteria."

Mr Crowe, a delivery driver from Newtownabbey, took his case to the Equality Commission and was awarded an out-of-court settlement in May this year.

He said: "I don't go out now because of what happened. That night I was out with a couple of friends playing pool and we decided to go to Thompsons. I was allowed in and paid my money.

"I was halfway up the stairs with my two friends and the doorman came back and said the manager said I had to leave, that I didn't fit their criteria. I just stormed out.

"Now I just don't go out any more. I'm not going to let my wife go through what my friends did, I wouldn't let her go through the embarrassment of that."

The nightclub is now under new ownership and current proprietor Stephen Boyd said such an incident would not happen again.

"Like any nightclub we operate a door policy but we would never turn somebody away for a facial disfigurement or any other disability," he stressed.

"That is not the policy in my club."

Mr Crowe's experience is one of a number of breaches of the Disability Discrimination Act the Equality Commission Northern Ireland has highlighted ahead of the Christmas party season.

As well as the £2,500, he received an apology from the nightclub's then owners.

He said disabled people were still discriminated against in Northern Ireland.

"I am disfigured, I know how I look," he said.

"There are certain places that I would never get let into and I know that."

Anne McKernan, casework director at the Equality Commission NI, commented: " There is no place for such instances of discrimination in our society and every effort must be made to challenge such treatment when it occurs."

She said that anyone who believes they have been discriminated against on the grounds of disability should contact the Commission on 028 9050 0600.

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