Diabetic woman awarded payout after Lucozade confiscated at concert
In August 2016, Kayla Hanna was queueing up at the Belfast Vital festival (formerly Tennent’s Vital) ready to see Red Hot Chili Peppers when a member of staff from security company Eventsec told her she wasn’t allowed to bring in her bottle of Lucozade.
As a type-1 diabetic, Hanna uses the energy drink to boost her blood sugar levels if they dip too low. After explaining this to security staff and showing them the tattoo on her wrist that also indicated her diabetic status, a security guard continued to refuse her entry with the drink, saying “anyone could have that [tattoo]”. Speaking about the encounter, Hanna says: “I also showed her my insulin pack and the meter used to check my levels.
“She consulted with another guard and they insisted that they had a strict policy and they would not allow me to bring the drink inside.”
After reluctantly giving up the drink, the following concert was filled with anxiety for the student. She says: “I was very anxious and upset throughout the concert. I was afraid something would happen to me and I would not have the Lucozade.”
After the incident, Hanna contacted the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, who brought her case before Belfast County Court, alleging a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. The findings of the court stated that Eventsec had not made adequate adjustments to their security policy to allow Hanna to bring in the necessary drink.
A security guard continued to refuse her entry with the drink, saying “anyone could have that tattoo”
The news of Hanna’s compensation comes at a time when security policies at concerts and festivals are becoming tighter and tighter. Around the world, venue owners and operators are responding to heightened terror levels and threats. The concern for many, however, is that these measures will impact disabled people like Kayla Hanna negatively.
Mary Kitson, senior legal officer at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, has highlighted the need for consideration of the Disability Discrimination Act in the face of increased measures. She says: “These are the kind of circumstances in which the reasonable adjustment provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act can be most beneficial.
“They are in the act to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied access to services by reason of general policies which can, in themselves, be otherwise justifiable and necessary.”
An Eventsec spokesperson says it was welcomed the judge’s decision, in which they acknowledged the company had “considered what reasonable adjustments needed to be put in place in order to meet the needs of those patrons with diabetes”. “The facts surrounding this case were an isolated incident,” they add.