Anti-Discrimination NSW

​Excluded after ‘odour’ incident 

Conciliation: Disability discrimination 

Published: 7 June 2017

An elderly couple attended a club on a regular basis, and one day they were asked to leave on the grounds that the woman ‘smelled’. They misunderstood the request and were eventually escorted out by security guards. 

When they returned on another occasion they were asked to leave again and their daughter was told that they would be excluded until they wrote and asked for re-admission. It transpired that there had been previous complaints which the couple were not aware of.

The couple were mortified by the experience and had rarely left their house since then. Their daughter made a complaint of disability discrimination on her parents’ behalf, as the odour related to her mother’s disability. 

The daughter said that her parents should have been warned there was a problem, and the club should have handled the matter in a more compassionate and professional manner. The club said they had in fact told the couple about the complaints and that they could be excluded. However the daughter said they may not have understood due to their limited English.

At conciliation, the club’s representative apologised for ‘the way it turned out’ and said the couple were welcome at the club. He said he would ensure that all the duty managers would handle the issue more discreetly if it occurred again, and make sure that the couple understood what was happening. 

The club also agreed that even if the problem recurred, the couple could return on another occasion. However they said that if it happened regularly they would need to re-assess the situation. They would also re-instate the husband’s bonus points which had expired during the period when he was unable to attend the club. This resolved the complaint.

What are my rights to goods and services?

In general, you have the right to apply for and get goods or services in the same way as people who don't have a disability. People must not harass you because of your disability while you are getting goods or services. 

Goods or service providers must not turn you away because they think that you (or your relative, friend, work colleague or associate) might offend or worry other customers.

​Bac​k to June 2017 - Equal Time Newsletter​​

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