Dressing to the nines this New Year? Will you be as prepared with your party rights as your outfit? I’m not joking – you might need to stand up to nightclub bouncers if they charge different prices for men and women.
This story started as the Which? youngsters let down their hair and lab coats in time for our annual Christmas party in mid-December.
Forever methodical, one of them researched an after-hours bar to visit should the celebrations continue, checked the entry fee advertised online – just £5 after 10pm – and put his name on the guest list.
Why should men pay more for bar entry?
Determined not to let the 30-something side down, I stilettoed my way on the promises of a chic laid-back venue, but was soon brought back down to earth as the last tube rumbled home beneath my feet.
There was no mention of a guest list but, like goats, the men were herded to the left and told it would cost £10 to enter, while ‘the girls get in for free’. What’s more, while the blokes shivered outside for ages for no apparent reason, we jostled down to glasses of red wine vinegar (I know, I never learn) and music to match.
Not your usual query to Which? Legal Service, but one of our lawyers simply can’t fathom why the women would have been disadvantaged by paying £10, or why the men couldn’t have got in free as well.
Your right to party
Under the Equality Act 2010, how can a bar (which is providing a service) get away with such blatant sex discrimination? Gender is a ‘protected characteristic’ and a public provider shouldn’t offer its services differently.
Ok, I don’t recommend you argue with a Goliath bouncer at 1am this New Year’s Eve, either about discrimination or charging a different price to the one advertised (which in itself could breach Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008).
However, a quiet word and a more sobering follow-up call might persuade venues to stop this outdated practice – and there’s always the chance for you gentlemen to launch legal challenges if they don’t.
Of course, a tube home and a cup of tea would have been the sensible option. Nevertheless, I’ll be avoiding the clubs this New Year’s Eve and will be joining 40-somethings in a hotel where we’ll spend a silly, but equal, amount on the best wine I’ll have this year. Whether I’ll keep up with them into the early hours remains to be seen…