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Petrol station (July 2017)

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Last updated 1st June 2019.

A civil servant claims that staff at a Sainsburys petrol station mimicked his stammer when he had difficulty pronouncing his pump number, and laughed at his speech.

Petrol pumps

According to him one of them said: ‘Why don’t you have another beer?’ and they didn’t seem too bothered when he said he had a stammer. It was 8:45am and his two daughters were in the car.

Sainsbury’s are reported to have responded that they have apologised to him and are investigating the matter.

Link: Eastern Daily Press, 12th July 2017; ITV News 12th July including video.

My comment

This might well be harassment under the Equality Act 2010, and perhaps direct discrimination and/or discrimination arising from disability.

However it sounds like the staff initially thought he was drunk. If so, the legal position is more straightforward if the mistreatment continued after he told them he had a stammer. It might be harder to say there was a breach of the Equality Act if staff apologised as soon as they realised he had a stammer (in which case the customer would in any event feel less aggrieved).

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