A holiday firm has been accused of circulating a list of “undesirable guests” in a bit to keep travellers and gypsies out of the resorts.
Some people with Irish accents or surnames had bookings at Pontins cancelled or refused, North Wales Live reported.
The chain, which has a resort in Prestatyn, circulated a list of Irish surnames on its internal intranet page titled “undesirable guests”, which required staff to block any potential customers with those names from booking.
It also monitored calls within its contact centre and refused or cancelled any bookings that were made by people with an Irish accent or surname, while also using their commercial vehicles policy to exclude Gypsies and Travellers from its holiday parks.
The policies came to light after a whistleblower, who worked for Pontins, alerted the Equalities and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] in February 2020.
The EHRC have now secured a legally binding agreement with Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited, which owns Pontins, to prevent racial discrimination.
The EHRC said that by declining to provide its services to guests of a certain race or ethnic group, Pontins was directly discriminating on the basis of race and breached the Equality Act 2010.
Alastair Pringle, executive director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “It is hard not to draw comparisons with an ‘undesirable guest list’ and the signs displayed in hotel windows 50 years ago, explicitly barring Irish people and Black people.
“Banning people from services based on their race is discrimination and is unlawful.
“To say that such policies are outdated is an understatement.
“It is right to challenge such practices and any business that believes this is acceptable should think again before they find themselves facing legal action.
“We will continue to work with Pontins and Britannia Jinky Jersey to ensure that our agreement is adhered to and its practices improve.”
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A spokesperson from Britannia Jinky Jersey said: “Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited has agreed to work together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to further enhance its staff training and procedures in order to further promote equality throughout its business.”
The agreement requires the company to:
- Conduct an investigation into the ‘undesirable guest’ list to ensure appropriate action is taken within the organisation and that lessons are learned
- Commission a review of its current intelligence system, booking policies and commercial vehicle policy to ensure they are not operating in a discriminatory way, and consider any recommendations
- Provide enhanced training on equality law for staff in its human resources team and members of senior management
- Provide training on equality and diversity for all customer facing staff on an annual basis
- Appoint equality, diversity and inclusion champions across the organisation.
The agreement is in place from 22 February 2021 and will be monitored by the EHRC to make sure the agreed actions are completed.
If Pontins does not adhere to the terms of the agreement, the EHRC said they have the power to launch a full investigation under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006.