JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has dropped its appeal against a court ruling last year (18 May), which found the company guilty of direct discrimination in eight of 18 claims brought against it by a group of travellers refused entry to the Coronet, Holloway Road, north London.
The company agreed to pay a total of £44,000, to be divided between the 18 claimants, as well as a £4,000 donation to The Traveller Movement, a charity that seeks to integrate travellers into British society.
JDW chairman Tim Martin said: “This is the first time in our 37-year history that a case of discrimination for refusal of entry to a Wetherspoon pub has gone to court.”
“I apologise to those who were not allowed in the Coronet pub and we have put in place improved training and management systems to prevent a recurrence.”
Delegates from The Traveller Movement conference sued the company in 2011 after they were refused entry to the Coronet because the manager had concerns about a recent disturbance at Dale Farm in Essex and previous disorder at the premises.
The group, which included a priest and a barrister, were eventually allowed entry after one member presented a police identity card, but sued the company on the grounds of direct discrimination shortly afterwards.
The Traveller Movement chief executive Yvonne MacNamara said: “I sincerely hope this will serve as a firm warning to pubs and other service providers across the country that discrimination against gypsies and travellers will no longer be tolerated.”
JDW has since worked with The Traveller Movement and the Equality & Human Rights Commission to develop revised training in respect of the treatment of various groups.
Claimant Helena Kiely, an Irish traveller, added: “For too long travellers and gypsies have had to accept being refused entry to pubs and other services as a part of life.
“This should be the final nail in the coffin of such discrimination and show that gypsies and travellers have the same rights as everyone else.”
Shortly after the incident at the Coronet, JDW apologised to three people refused entry to the Tivoli, Cambridge, following a nearby funeral.