Northern Ireland

Mixed-race boy paid £3,000 in PC World discrimination case

Dixons PC World store Image copyright Alamy
Image caption DSG Retail Limited, operators of Currys PC World, settled the case without admission of liability

A boy of mixed-race has been paid £3,000 in settlement of a racial discrimination case.

It arose from an incident when the 13-year-old was asked to leave a Currys PC World Store in County Down.

He said that while he was in the store buying a wireless keyboard he was approached by a member of staff several times and asked to leave.

DSG Retail Limited, operators of Currys PC World, settled the case without admission of liability.

It said it "does not tolerate discrimination of any kind" and has "taken on board the recommendations" of the Equality Commission.

'Never going into a shop again'

The boy said he was very upset by the episode.

"I don't think I've ever been as embarrassed, being singled out like this," he said.

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Media captionThe Equality Commission's Michael Wardlow says race-related incidents are increasing

"When I got back to the car I was really upset and told my mum that I was never going into a shop again."

His mother said she challenged the shop workers and later spoke to a manager, but did not get a satisfactory response.

She alleged that reference was made to other "blacks" having caused trouble and damaged items in the shop.

"I thought then, and I still think now, that this happened because of my race," said the boy.

He was supported in his case by the Equality Commission.

Chief Commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow said it was "particularly traumatic" for a 13-year-old boy to be told to leave a store, to be followed and be observed closely as he was shopping in his own town.

"Assumptions made about people based on stereotypes, simply because of the colour of their skin, can result in unfair and hurtful treatment which can make a damaging impact on a person's self-esteem and self-confidence," he said.

"There is no place for this in our society."

In addition to paying £3,000, the company has undertaken to liaise with the Equality Commission to review their equal opportunity policies, practices and procedures and to implement any reasonable recommendations the Commission makes, including race awareness training for their staff.

A spokesperson for Dixons Carphone said: "Our customers and colleagues should feel respected in our stores and places of work at all times and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.

"The complaint dates back to 2016 and, since the involvement of the Equality Commission in 2017, we have worked with them to update our equality and diversity policy and taken on board their recommendations."

The BBC asked Dixons Carphone to elaborate further on what specific policies had been updated, but did not receive a response.

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