What is your responsibility as a publican to enforce political correctness?
In January of this year Rebekah Wershbale was barred from her local because of her t-shirt.
She was barred from the Fiveclouds Tap & Bottle in Cheshire for wearing a black t-shirt with the slogan: “Woman: adult human female”, on the grounds that it was transphobic.
The complaint came from another customer who thought that the t-shirt wasn’t inclusive despite the slogan being a dictionary definition.
Wershbale, who had a history of incidents at the bar, was banned until she properly discusses the situation with staff – was this a fair judgement or political correctness gone too far?
As a licensee you do have legal duties, one of which is not to discriminate against anyone because of, for example, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion and of course gender reassignment.
A licensee also has the right to refuse entry or ask someone to leave the premises as long as this doesn’t breach equality legislation.
Under the 2003 Licensing Act it states that one of the licensing objectives is to prevent crime and disorder and another to prevent public nuisance – therefore if a customer’s behaviour is likely to infringe upon these objectives then it stands they should be removed.
Ultimately it is your decision as the licensee what you do in such circumstances – just ensure you provide a safe and welcoming place for everyone and create the ambience you want to promote!
Recently there has been a development in some pubs that really promotes customer satisfaction – but is it at the loss of promoting the licensing objectives?
We all know that dreaded feeling of knowing it’s our round, seeing the dregs of our drinks being drained and glancing at the 4 deep queue at the bar and thinking:
“In this day and age surely there’s an better way to do this?”
Well a few chains have decided that there should be and have embraced technology in creating apps where the customer never has to leave their table – they order either on their smart phone or an iPad placed on the table. The drinks then get poured and served directly to the consumer.
The other evolution is the ‘self service station’ that are essentially beer walls or per-table taps that customers serve themselves from, eliminating the need to queue and giving more autonomy to the consumer.
However, this has not been welcomed by all. With these models there is less face-to-face contact meaning that staff have less control over serving someone underage or who’s had too many!
Therefore, it is being advised that if you are to follow this evolution that chains such as Wetherspoons have entertained, it is best to make authorities aware of your plans before putting something into place and to ensure that you are carrying out a risk assessment to promote the licensing laws.
We have a licensing department here at Melrose who will be happy to offer advice on this matter.
We also offer personal license courses once a month. Email email@example.com for more information.