Boxer settles discrimination case against Boxing Council
Published 26 September 2018. By Kym Horner
The Equality Commission has announced that a boxer has been paid an £8,500 settlement in a case against the Ulster Boxing Council relating to discrimination on perceived religious belief/political opinion.
Lewis Crocker (21), a keen boxer from childhood, was boxing with the Holy Trinity Boxing Club in the Turf Lodge area of Belfast. Although the club is located in a predominantly Catholic area, Mr Crocker came from a Protestant background, and this was widely known within the boxing community.
Mr Crocker had been very successful in his amateur boxing career to this point, winning seven Irish titles and honours at other international contests. He took part in performance tests as part of the ‘High Performance Camp’ at the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland and finished top in the testing.
As a result, his name was put forward by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to the Ulster Boxing Council as part of the suggested Northern Ireland team for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Despite his many accolades, and the personal recommendation from the Head Coach, Mr Crocker was not selected for the team. The other boxers, who also received a recommendation, were selected for the team. Mr Crocker believed that the boxers selected were all Catholic, and that he was overlooked for selection due to his Protestant background.
Mr Crocker stated how he was left feeling hurt and unfairly treated, and further believed that his non-selection caused a ‘huge stir’ within the boxing community.
The Equality Commission assisted Mr Crocker in his case brought under the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order which protects people from discrimination based on grounds of religious belief and political opinion.
Mr Crocker was paid £8,500. The settlement was made without admission of liability.
Following the case the Ulster Boxing Council acknowledged the hurt caused to Mr Crocker by his non-selection. They also stated that the Council’s new President was committed to helping to modernise policies and practices to ensure such an occurrence does not happen again.
Suzanne Keenan, Associate Director and Head of Employment at MKB Law, comments: “This case highlights the importance of selection processes and procedures across all sectors, to ensure they are well designed and avoid any form of discrimination either directly or indirectly.”
Source: Equality Commission