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Open letter to pub trust about homophobia against TSSA member

5 March 2018

Open letter to the Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, operator of the Leopard Pub Doncaster

To the manager,

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) safety against hate speech in your establishment The Leopard
I am writing to you following reports from members of my union that one of our members was verbally harassed by a customer in one of your establishments, The Leopard on Wednesday, 31 January, during a union meeting that took place in the public bar area.

Our member states that while he was discussing with his fellow branch members one of our LGBT+ initiatives, the #NoBystanders campaign, a member of the public started to insult him using derogatory words such as ‘poofter’ and ‘homo’.
Our #NoBystanders campaign is supported by Stonewall UK, the leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights organisation and encourages people to speak out against instances of bullying, harassment and behaviours such as those displayed in your establishment. Our members felt it most appropriate to approach your manager that night, to address behaviours of other customers.

When our member sought help from the manager on duty that night, he responded that ‘it is a public bar, he (the customer) can say whatever he likes.’

As you might be aware, incidents that involve verbal abuse like name calling because of sexual orientation constitute as a hate incident under UK law. The TSSA takes these situations very seriously - we do not tolerate any type of protection for LGBT+ harassment. Our members felt extremely dismayed at the response of your staff as they expected them to provide a level of safety and protection from hateful behaviours. I imagine also, that other customers would expect a safe environment and a level of protection from your staff.

In addressing our member’s concerns, I ask two things. Firstly, that you clarify your process in dealing with situations of violence or abuse of your patrons. Do you have a policy in place on what to do in the event of violent or abusive behaviour if it breaks out in your establishment? Have your staff been trained to deal with these situations and are they clear on what is expected when violence or harassment occurs? What are the consequences for your customers should they become violent or harass others?

Secondly, I ask that a written apology will be made to our member at your earliest convenience. I am happy to forward this to him, should you respond positively to this request.

I hope that an appropriate response will be given within a reasonable timeframe.

I look forward to your response.

Manuel signature

Manuel Cortes
General Secretary

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