TWELVE IRISH Travellers have received thousands of pounds in compensation from pub chain Greene King in settlement of a case of racism.
Howe + Co, a leading London legal firm, were acting on behalf of Irish Travellers who were discriminated against by staff at a Greene King pub, the Rose and Crown in Woodford Green, Essex.
Greene King is a leading pub retailer in the UK with over 3000 pubs.
On 23 April 2022, six Irish Travellers were ejected by the manager of the Rose and Crown as they sat down to watch the WBC heavyweight title fight between Dillian Whyte and the “Gypsy King” Tyson Fury.
They were told to leave because of Greene King’s policy to not serve Travellers — a policy which the company Board of Directors dhas denied. Another six clients, who were on their way to the pub, were told to turn around as they would not be served.
Even after they challenged the decision, the manager told the travellers, “That’s what the company says: no Travellers”. He also confirmed that the reason for the ejection was race, and accepted that the policy was discriminatory.
Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of the Traveller Movement, said: “It is important to note this case is not an outlier; racism against Irish Travellers is rife in our society.”
The 12 individuals instructed solicitors Howe + Co to bring claims against Greene King for unlawful direct racial discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010.
The pub chain settled the claims out of court.
MacNamara commented: “We hope and expect that that this outcome will serve as a warning to other companies, and that Greene King’s future conduct will serve as an example of inclusivity and progress.”
In response to the legal case, Greene King has committed to training its staff to ensure that discrimination does not occur again in the Rose and Crown and has reaffirmed its commitment to removing racism across its business.
Greene King has posted the following public apology on their website and on their LinkedIn profile:
“Greene King sincerely apologises to the 12 individuals who were discriminated against by a member of our team and asked to leave or not attend our Rose and Crown pub. . .
“This behaviour is contrary to all that we at Greene King believe in. We have a commitment to “Calling Time on Racism” and we are working hard across our business to make sure that we all consistently live up to these commitments and values. Since this incident we have ensured that the team in the Rose and Crown has had full training in this area, in addition to our company wide efforts to promote inclusion and diversity and eliminate racism in our company.
“We have apologised unreservedly to the 12 individuals involved in this incident paid them compensation as well as their legal costs and have made a charitable donation at their request.” Howe + Co’s Partner, Martin Howe said: “I am pleased that Greene King agreed to settle yet another shocking example of race discrimination against Irish Travellers. It is not lost on our clients that they were ejected from the pub as they, along with other non-Traveller customers, prepared to watch the heavyweight world title fight between Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury, a man proud of his Irish Traveller heritage and who fights as the ‘Gypsy King’.
“Greene King has, rightly, paid substantial damages and costs, and have made an unreserved sincere apology for the hurt and distress caused to our clients by their pub staff. It is time that Greene King turns its words into action. It is not enough to issue statements ‘Calling Time on Racism’ if Greene King’s staff continue to discriminate against any racial or ethnic group.
“Discrimination against Irish Travellers remains only too prevalent and is regarded by some as the last bastion of acceptable racism. Until these ugly unacceptable instances of blatant racism against Travellers are stopped, significant settlements like this will continue to the shame companies who engage in racist conduct.”
Yvonne MacNamara added:
“We welcome Greene King’s commitment to ‘Calling Time on Racism’ and will continue to act as a critical friend to the company to ensure they uphold both their legal obligations, as well as the organisational principles they have set for themselves.”
Green King has faced local opposition in West Lothian where it has changed the name of The Black Bitch pub, named after a black greyhound, to The Willow Tree.