Northern Ireland news

Teenage boy (13) of mixed race settles racial discrimination case with Curry's PC World

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland supported the teenage boy in his case

A 13-year-old boy of mixed race who was told to leave a Curry's PC World store in Co Down has received £3,000 to settle a racial discrimination case.

The teenager, whose name was not released, said he was "singled out" by staff. His mother also alleged a reference was made to other "blacks" having caused trouble and damaged items in the store.

The boy went into the Curry's PC World store to buy a wireless keyboard, while his mother waited outside in the car.

But he said as he walked around the shop, he was approached by a member of staff and asked to leave.

The boy explained why he was there and questioned why he should leave, but no reason was given and he was asked to leave several times.

He was followed and closely observed as he selected and paid for the keyboard and left the store.

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

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

Dr Michael Wardlow of the Equality Commission

At the time the boy's mother challenged the people in the store and later complained on the phone, but said she did not get a satisfactory response.

The Equality Commission supported the boy in his case, which was settled by DSG Retail Limited, operators of Curry's PC World, without admission of liability.

In addition to paying the boy £3,000, the company will review their equal opportunity policies, practices and procedures and implement any reasonable recommendations the commission makes.

The boy said he hopes that by highlighting his case, it will help others.

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

"Afterwards I was very anxious and was afraid to go out, particularly into shops or into the town.

"I even stopped going out to activities which I really loved.

"Now that this has been resolved, I hope that my challenging it will help other people who are treated unfairly because of their race - you don't have to put up with it and there is support available."

Dr Michael Wardlow of the Equality Commission said: "To feel, as this young boy did, that he was singled out and treated unfairly because of his race, while out shopping in his home town, made this particularly traumatic.

"Racial prejudice sometimes involves discrimination in the workplace and even outright violence against people and their home.

"It can also, however, present itself in lower level, daily interactions.

"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."

A spokesman for Curry's PC World 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."

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