Discrimination-free Reasons to To Refuse Service to a Person in a Pub

I seem to know quite a few publicans.  I don’t know why this is, but it it could be my prodigious capacity for alcohol, or it might not, since I’m now far too old to be swallowing vast amounts of beer.  It must be my magnetic personality and unbelievable levels of physical attractiveness.  Anyway, one way or another, I discovered from talking to publicans that they’re all scared shitless of refusing service to people without giving a valid reason, because they think their licences can be objected to on the grounds of discrimination.

This is bollocks.

Barring customers

Any publican is entitled to refuse service to any customer without giving a reason, provided they haven’t discriminated on the very narrow grounds laid down in law.

What are those grounds?

They are as follows:

  • Gender
  • Marital status.
  • Family status.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Religious belief or lack of religious belief.
  • Age.
  • Disability.
  • Race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.
  • Membership of the traveller community.

Nota bene.  There is nothing in Irish law preventing a publican from refusing me on the grounds that they

– don’t like me

– think I’m ugly

– think I’m a lowlife scumbag

– find me boring

– dislike my dog

– disagree with my views on sport or any other reason apart from those listed above.

The only people who have rights in Irish discrimination law are those in the list I’ve just made.  Nobody else has any right whatsoever to be served and can be refused without even the most perfunctory explanation.  Fuck off will do fine.

In addition, if any of the people in the list behave in an unacceptable way, you are also entitled to refuse them service.

However, there’s one thing to be careful of, if you happen to be a publican and you want to get rid of people who are pissing you off.   You do not want to call the future ex-customer a lowlife scumbag in front of others because they might successfully argue that you defamed them.

Since it’s not defamatory to call a person names in private, take them aside and tell them they’re no longer going to be served in your premises.

Wish them a happy life and rejoice that they’re gone from yours.

Have no further fears about your licence.

Scumbags begone!



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18 thoughts on “Discrimination-free Reasons to To Refuse Service to a Person in a Pub

  1. The risk is in trying to bar anyone for valid reasons that can make it seem they’ve been barred under one or more of the nine disallowed grounds above. It’s also likely that in case of a legal claim of discrimination, the barman may have to prove that he was acting for reasons other than discrimination, particularly when dealing with any ethnic or pseudo-ethnic minority.

  2. Only if the person barred fits into one of the above categories. I haven’t expanded the legal definitions for obvious reasons, but it’s even more restrictive than that.

  3. Refusal on grounds that the license could be revoked by provision of service hasn’t been tested, as far as I am aware, and the law is so screwed up it could probably fill the requirement for frightened publicans because being pedantic about obeying the law does not break any law no matter the interpretation and the indignant-refused gets the option to drink elsewhere without having been formally discriminated against.
    For instance; ‘I don’t know you nor the condition you are in’, still works.

  4. I spent many an hour at the pumps in my earlier years. All you have to do is say “Sorry, I think you have had enough, you are welcome to come back tomorrow” (they never do) No matter what your reason is for wanting them out of the house. “Look, your honour, in my opinion, I thought the gentleman had quite a few on board, and it is illegal to serve a drunk person any more” will also suffice, should it escalate to that.

  5. That’s true, but it’s important to point out the legal situation, because people are needlessly afraid of refusing scumbags.

  6. I wish they’d ban those guys who, when they’re pissed, insist on going around the pub shaking hands with everyone, again and again and again…..

  7. Have been threatened with a couple of law suits and negative press in the papers

    Once told someone I didntwant to serve someone because they were obnoxiou and a cunt, didnt bother me

    Guy threatened to stab someone, he got barred, told another bar owner, got threatened with a lawsuit, didnt bother me, what was he going to do admit in court the situation surrounding why he was refused

    It did bother others though

    Also most of these people cant afford a civil case in the first place so who cares

  8. Derek, yoy missed the point, you cant bar somone because they are a traveller but you can not serve them because they look out of place

  9. Again the elephant in the caravan rears it’s head.

    Laws put in place to protect Hard working people, which are then manipulated by the very people who they were put in place to prevent from being a nuisance, and a great deal of pussy footing around ensues, and money has to change hands to the poor ethnic minority.

    Maybe I’m just lacking positive role models from these particular communities, Maybe there are hard working salt of the earth members of these communities who are not out to make a fast buck off the back of hard working people and I have just never met them.

    They are also badly served by their community leaders who represent them on TV, who put everything down to a minority of the community, if that is the case why are some Publicans who are forced to deal with them day in day out terrified of them ? I say discriminate discreetly and be damned.

  10. Had a group a few years ago from a known Traveller family

    They were for the most part ok and the owner insisted that I serve them, until geusts of their along with a couple of the younger members of the family chose to do cocaine openly in the toilets,

    Confronted them and when threatened told them all get out

    The older 3 or 4 came in for their sunday pints and when told what happened they apologised and never came back in again, who was I to argue, have met them since in other pubs and a polite hello was all I got off all members of the family

    Loved to have been a fly on the wall when the younger lads got their talking to

  11. As I understad the Law you don’t have to give any reason at all not to serve someone. If it does go to court however you are obliged to provide a valid reason and back it up. Unfortunatly the solution isn’t so easy. You have Publicans that get scared when confronted by a group of lads and can’t bring themselves to fuck some of these clowns off. You have the arsehole that just won’t take no for an answer and he has to be dealt with too; how it ends is a lottery. I worked in a decent boozer in town and we didn’t serve most tinkers but there were a few we did and nobody blinked an eye at the sitting in the bar. We didn’t serve scumbags though but they take many forms. As the yank would say it’s a crapshoot.
    Are Tinkers included in No8. ?

  12. So you seem to think your better than the customers who pay your wages,another thing you are an offensive prick calling people of the travelling comunity tinkers,look in the mirror+ask yourself,who is it that can afford to be drinking when your working (tinkers eh)

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