A pub chain has apologised after a man threatened to sue them under sex discrimination laws for ordering him to take his hat off.
Fedora-wearing Malcolm “Mal the Hat” Tattersall, 68, from Ampthill, has also been offered free drinks as compensation for his ruined evening.
The problems arose when he was asked to remove his hat before entering the Slug and Lettuce in Chichester after attending the Glorious Goodwood horse race meeting with his brother Lester, and nephew Harry, a professional poker player, who had travelled over from Spain specially for the races.
Father-of-three Mr Tattersall later complained to the manager Neil O’Hagan after realising that several women racegoers wearing hats and fancy fascinators were happily drinking at the bar.
Mr Tattersall, a journalist, said: “I told him that it seemed very sexist that I had to take my hat off but women didn’t, and this appeared to be a prima facie case of discrimination under Part Two of the 2010 Equality Act.
“Mr O’Hagan was very polite and explained men were not allowed to wear hats because of the CCTV. He said it might be difficult to identify a man wearing a hat were there any trouble in the pub.
“But I pointed out that I was a respectable journalist in my 60s not some young drunken thug who went round smashing up boozers – and such a reason could also be construed as sexist for it implied that only men, and not women, are likely to cause trouble.
“We all know that, certainly in licensed premises after drink has been taken, such is not always the case.”
Now after complaining to the Luton based Stonegate Pub Company, which own the Slug and Lettuce, Mr Tattersall has received an apologetic letter from Helen Charlesworth, managing director of its branded bars section.
She wrote from her office in Capability Green, Luton: “I can only apologise for this. We have taken learnings from this going forward.”
Ms Charlesworth said the Slug and Lettuce, which has now been renamed The Chantry, actually had a no-hats policy for both men and women, and signs would now be put up warning all customers.
However as a result of Mr Tattersall’s complaint during future Glorious Goodwood race meetings, when many men and women dress up for the occasion, everybody will now be allowed to wear hats, regardless of sex.
She added: “I hope this has assured you that we have taken your comments seriously. We do not discriminate against any of our customers and I was saddened to read you felt this way.
“We hope you continue to visit The Chantry in Chichester and I include a Stonegate voucher that can be redeemed at any of our sites.”
A happy Mr Tattersall said: “I take my hat off to them for apologising and changing their policy. I look forward to having a drink in the pub again next time I am at Glorious Goodwood – so long as the bookies don’t clean me out first.”