Simon Creek – WAToday.com.auExecutive Chairman, multi-award winning Family Lawyer & NFP adviser at HHG Legal Group
Lawyers watch with interest after nightclub owner bans ‘eshay’ shoes.
A prominent lawyer has cautioned that nightclub owners should consider potential legal risks when considering banning sneakers associated with “eshays” in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour.
Malcolm Pages, owner of Bar1 Nightclub in the northern Perth suburb of Hillarys, said on Monday his ban would come into effect from February 1 and would only apply to “a certain style of person”.
“If you’re at a cocktail party or a 21st and you rock up as a well-dressed lady in red shoes you won’t be told to change your shoes,” he told Perth’s Radio 6PR.
“It’s more of a certain element of person who has red Nikes, ASICs or New Balance to match with a big thick chain and a certain shirt.
“It’s a little bit eshay or the local suburban hero. Every pub, nightclub, bar, security person, police officer would tell you that the local hero wears a certain style of clothing.
“It’s a look that has been gaining momentum over the past 12 to 18 months in Perth and Australia and unfortunately quite often when they are asked to leave a large percentage of the time they have red shoes on.”
Pages denied the new entry rules were discriminatory.
Senior lawyer and executive chairman of HHG Legal Group, Simon Creek, said under the Liquor Control Act 1988, licensees could legally set dress standards they believed were best suited to their venue, but cautioned them to seek legal advice on how best to display and implement their policy, especially with regard to adequate advertising and signage highlighting specific policies.
“There are plenty of precedents with bars prohibiting singlets, thongs or motorcycle attire,” he said.
“Arguably, banning specific types or brands of red shoes may be discriminatory or at least problematic under other legislation, and he could run into some challenges if he doesn’t provide enough detail on the policy.
“I doubt Nike, for example, would be in favour of their brand being singled out.
“Ultimately however, after considering all the legal and general business pros and cons of his policy, Mr Pages may decide he has the legal grounds to give it a go.”
Creek said the owner needed to be very specific that he was singling out a subculture for a reason that benefited the patrons he was seeking to attract.
“He may choose to bring the term eshay into it, and go into detail,” he said.
“After all, even Wikipedia links the eshay subculture with known criminal tendencies. Whether that is fair or not, is a matter for the community, the hospitality sector and perhaps the law to determine, if the policy is challenged.
“I can’t help but wonder what the legal findings may be if on different facts, a licensee chose to introduce a policy banning females wearing headgear associated with the Muslim faith. The commercial law and criminal law teams at my firm will be watching how this develops with great interest.”
Eshays are easily identified by their rough-hewn dialect, volatile social practices, questionable haircuts and eccentric wardrobe that jumbles fake designer accessories with name-brand sportswear.
Their uniform includes Gucci hats, striped Nautica polo shirts buttoned to the top, Nike TNs, Adidas shorts and bumbags slung over their shoulders.
The urban youth subculture seemingly infused with drugs, graffiti and petty theft is a trend that has gripped a section of the youth of Perth.
It’s thought to have emerged from the suburbs of western Sydney in the mid-2000s, and is primarily adopted by young males from areas of lower socio-economic wealth and working-class suburbs.