A man with diabetes was questioned by nightclub security staff about jelly beans and insulin while waiting to get into the venue.
23 year-old Harrison Cal suffers from Type-1 diabetes and requires the lollies and insulin to manage his condition.
Club management has defended its handling of the incident on social media without offering an apology.
Man questioned over jelly beans and insulin
Mr Cal had been waiting with friends to get into the Rocket Bar & Rooftop in Adelaide on the weekend.
He told ABC News that security staff pulled the group aside and directed them to empty their pockets.
“I took out my phone, my keys, my jelly beans and my insulin,” he said.
“To which they said, ‘what is that? Why are you carrying jelly beans?’
“Not even the insulin itself, but the jelly beans.”
Mr Cal said he told staff about his condition and that he needed to carry the items in case of an emergency.
“For context, it’s a small ziplock bag probably the size of my palm and there were probably 20 jelly beans in there,” he said.
“Immediately the energy I was getting and the sort of responses I was getting was ‘we don’t actually believe you’re even a diabetic’.”
Mr Cal said he then showed staff a device attached to his arm which monitors his blood glucose levels.
He said a security staff member responded saying: ‘how do I know that’s not just something on your arm?’
“This is literally something that’s attached to my arm, it can’t come off, there was no gain in me lying about any of this,” he said.
“It didn’t make sense why the questioning kept happening.”
But that wasn’t enough. Mr Cal said staff then asked him to provide evidence of his condition.
He was able to show a letter from his endocrinologist which confirmed an appointment for his condition.
Insulin syringe a ‘safety threat’
Staff eventually said Mr Cal could enter the venue – but without his insulin and syringe – which they described as a “safety threat”.
He said staff told him to “leave or discard” the items.
“I proved myself, quite innocently from the start, that I am in fact a diabetic and so there should have been no further requests … to prove that I’m a diabetic,” he said.
Discrimination lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins said it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on an impairment or disability.
“South Australia’s Equal Opportunity Act makes it unlawful to treat someone unfairly because they have a disability,” he said.
“However, the law says the discrimination must also be unreasonable.”
Mr Dryley-Collins said if Mr Cal had been refused entry without his vital emergency medicine he could have a claim for discrimination.
NEXT READ Discrimination
Nightclub commits to better education for staff
Meanwhile, Rocket Bar & Rooftop said that it did not intend to “single out and ostracise” Mr Cal.
It insisted staff were acting in accordance with its own risk assessment policy by asking about the items.
The club said in a statement on Instagram that was a legal requirement to conduct screening of customers “on arrival for the safety of all inside”.
“Carrying syringes into bars and clubs isn’t a normal practice, so we continued to be thorough and this included extra questions directed solely to this patron,” the club said.
“We acknowledge the fact that this patron was asked about his Glucose Monitoring device, which was part of the screening procedure this patron went through due to the needles, syringe and plastic bag’s contents.
“There was no intention to make him feel like he was being singled out.
“The club said Mr Cal was not denied entry for his insulin or syringe and left of his own accord.
However, it also said it is “taking the necessary steps to fully educate our team further on this case, and diabetes in general and encourage more venues to do the same to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Mr Cal welcomed that commitment, but had hoped for an apology from the club.
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