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Date published

1 November 2018

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How it all started

I have competed in athletics since I was 14. I’m now 38. I had always been part of a club without any problems at all. In 2015 I disclosed to my club that I had mental illness. Without speaking to me about this or seeking a doctors letter, the club sent me a letter saying I was now banned from the club as according to them, those with mental illness were a danger to younger athletes in the club. I was no danger at all and there was no evidence of this. I wrote back to them explaining that this was discrimination, and they responded by saying they didn’t agree with the Equality Act and they should be allowed to ban whoever they want. I issued county court proceedings under the Equality Act and just before the trial, the club settled out of court with me. It cost them nearly £30,000 in legal costs and settlement. The Court process was daunting initially as the club had a solicitor and I didn’t, but at each hearing the judges made it clear to me what I needed to do and how to do it, and were extremely supportive. The Courts are really accessible to litigants in person. I also used the Equality Advisory Support Service helpline in the initial stages to send a letter before action to the club.

What I did to try to overcome it

Letter before action and when that didn’t work I went to county court under the Equality Act

How it made me feel

Devastated and very distressed. My mental health worsened significantly due to the club’s discrimination.

The outcome

I got an out of court settlement which consisted of a financial sum and a few other bits like the club agreeing to have mental health training.

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