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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71135
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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What can i do about racial discrimination in a uk hotel

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what can i do about racial discrimination in a uk hotel

What is the discrimination?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My fiancée and I (we are Caribbean) went to a hotel for a spa weekend, on arrival we checked in received the key to the room and verified my debit card to charge any purchases to our room. We went for a drink in the bar and charged the first drink to our room no problem. there was a change in staff thereafter and we were served by a Nigerian lady, who insisted that we prove we were guests as asked to see the room key, I showed this to her and she said that it was not enough, I had to go to reception and get proof from the reception. with that I said no worried I will pay now by card, which I did. a min later two other guest charged drinks to their room, they where white, she just did it asking them no questions; my fiancée and was quite taken aback but we left it not wanting to create a scene. we continued to charge to our room with other staff members, the spa, dinner etc with no problems and no requests for proof that evening. The following afternoon we were in the bar again, the same Nigerian lady was serving, again she served 2 or three people and charged it to their rooms and not asked any question and once again when i asked to charge it to my room she insisted on proof I was a guest at the hotel, this time I confronted her asking here why she was aksing me and not any one else for proof, she had no answer and said its my job to ask and raised her voice, I answered in a calm voice, " so its your job to asked black guests for proof and not the white ones?" also informed her that no other staff member asked us for proof, she had no answer, once again i paid for our drinks on my debit card and complained to the manage via e-mail when we got home. We were made to feel like second class citizens and totally spoilt our stay

How do you know it is anything to do with colour?

I understand that you say you saw instances of being treated differently to others but what is the evidence that it was your colour?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was either colour or race mistrust of some sort but it was race based discriminationOther than a confession from the lady involved there is no direct tangible proof other than her actions and our observations and the way we were treated.
The fact is the 5 white guest we witnessed her serving she asked no questions and asked no proof and the only black guests in the bar at that time she asked for proof. My fiancée and I are professional, accountant and company administrator, we were very well dressed and very well spoken, not like black gangsters, the only difference between us and the white guests was our colour/raceUnfortunately many Nigerians dislike Caribbean people, it has always been that way. The ignorant Nigerians generally call us "watered down" referring to the fact the we are not pure blood Africans and sons of slave owner....that sort of innocence
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that sort of nonsense

Oh yes, I understand the background between Carribeans and Africans.

There are always a number of problems with this type of thing. The greatest probably is that allegations of racism are made almost as liberally as allegations of abuse and unfortunately that seems to taint all allegations. You always start off from a position of disadvantage because of the volume of frivilous claims.

Clearly you can complain. Whether it was a racial issue or just that she did not like the look of you for any other reason she should not, from a customer services point of view, be treating you differently.

The question is whether or not, if that fails, you could pursue legal action.

The Equal Opportunities Act is quite clear. There cannot be discrimination.

The difficulty is always proving discrimination although you do only have to reach the civil standard.

It is quite unlikely to come to the need for legal action anyway. They will want to put it to bed swiftly and are likely to make some form of offer.

Can I clarify anythign for you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It does appear that my complaint has failed, how do I go about taking legal action, small claims, county court or should I just hire a solicitor? I am keen to get some sort of justice but dont want to spend thousands on this, as life goes on.Thanks Daniel
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
where do i go from here as they have ignored my last e-mail. and I feel they will just ignore me until I do something else, the question is what is the something else?

It is not actually particularly expensive to sue. You can issue at the county court using the N244 forms.

The cost is in using a solicitor but they do protect you from the costs of the other side.

Actually just to exchange letters it would probably be an amount in the low hundreds and that might well dispose of the claim so it would be worth looking at.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your help

No problem.

All the best.

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