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Complaint over access

A disabled customer has raised a complaint

Q: I manage a busy town centre bar and we have received a recent complaint from a customer who arrived at the premises in a wheelchair accompanied by several friends. The premises was very busy at the time and my deputy took the view that it would not be safe to allow this group of customers into the business as access would have been difficult and he was concerned about the customer’s ability to move safely around the premises without the potential for causing injuries to other customers due to the sheer numbers inside. What should I do?

A: Situations like this are always difficult to resolve. As the manager of a licensed business you need to balance the rights of customers to have access to your premises regardless of any disability but at the same time to preserve the health, safety and welfare of all customers within the business. Whilst there is no clear right or wrong answer it would be sensible to be able to demonstrate from a due diligence perspective that full consideration was given to the options in terms of enabling the customer in the wheelchair to come into the premises and perhaps occupy a corner area where the risk to both the individual and other customers would be minimised. If on the particular evening it turned out to be impossible to achieve such a resolution then details of the assessment and decision taken ought to be recorded within the Incident Book at the premises.

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