'Meadowhall discriminated against me with hoods ban', says Sheffield dad with PTSD

A Sheffield dad-of-two suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) claims Meadowhall discriminated against him with its ban on hoods.

Friday, 21st February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 1:28 pm
Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield

Anthony Jones says he was ordered to lower the hood of his Adidas jacket or leave, despite explaining that the debilitating condition stemming from his childhood meant he was uncomfortable doing so in public.

The 29-year-old from Parson Cross has vowed never to set foot in the shopping centre again following the 'humiliating' experience.

But Meadowhall has defended its policy, intended to prevent intimidating behaviour, and insisted staff receive regular mental health training to help them support customers.

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Mr Jones told how he was in the queue at Pizza Hut last Thursday, February 13, at around midday, when he was approached by a security guard who told him to lower his hood.

Despite explaining he needed to keep his hood up due to a mental health condition, he says staff refused to back down and the police were called before he eventually left of his own accord.

"I was just trying to get some food and wasn't causing any trouble," he said.

“I didn’t walk around with my face covered or anything, and I explained to them that I had a medical condition.

"I felt so humiliated. It's serious discrimination and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it."

The ban on hoods is set out in Meadowhall's code of conduct but Mr Jones says he has visited many times before and never previously been asked to leave despite always having his hood up.

A spokeswoman for Meadowhall said: “At Meadowhall, our priority is providing a safe environment for our visitors. We don’t permit behaviour that may be perceived as intimidating, which includes the wearing of hoods in the centre.

“We’re pleased that all our of teams in the centre receive regular mental health awareness training to assist them in supporting our visitors, assessing potentially disruptive situations at their discretion.

“For more information, please visit the code of conduct on our website to see how we’re ensuring our visitors remain safe and secure.”