Welsh Bar Culture Falls Foul of New York Human Rights with Ad for Staff; REQUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE OF BRITISH CULTURE COSTS PUB PS1,600

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

Welsh Bar Culture Falls Foul of New York Human Rights with Ad for Staff; REQUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE OF BRITISH CULTURE COSTS PUB PS1,600


Byline: CERI WILLIAMS newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

THE owner of a Welsh bar in New York has been fined PS1,600 after trying to hire staff with a "knowledge of British culture".

Ex-pat Michael Colbert, 54, was accused of race discrimination and hauled up in front of a human rights commission after advertising for new staff with an interest in Britain.

The landlord placed a job advert for the Longbow - the only Welsh pub in the Big Apple - looking for bartenders.

But the city's authorities claimed he was being unfair to workers of different nationalities.

Mr Colbert, from Wrexham, and his American wife, Jennifer, had been due to take their case to court.

But they agreed in a pre-trial conference to pay a fine of $2,500 (PS1,600) issued by New York City's Commission of Human Rights.

Part of the agreement also stipulates that the couple and their staff have to undergo anti-discrimination training within the next 120 days.

In a statement the couple said: "Free speech is not so free after all it seems."

Mr Colbert said: "We advertised for someone with a knowledge of Britain and Wales, the culture and the differences we have.

"We are looking for people with a certain skill set who will create the right atmosphere for people walking in.

"But somewhere along the writing of the advert we fell foul of the authorities."

Mr Colbert is an ex-carpenter who moved to New York from Wrexham more than 20 years ago.

He married his American wife and opened the bar in the Brooklyn area of the city.

The bar is popular with tourists and expats. They have a Welsh rugby shirt behind the bar, serve curry and chips and show the Premier League.

The vacancy at the bar has now been filled by a "football mad" Irish woman.

But the couple added they were looking forward to getting on with running the pub.

"We are grateful for all the support we have received, locally, nationally and internationally," they said in a statement. …

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