B.C. bar accused of racism ordered to pay $30K
Bouncers denied Indo-Canadians entry while admitting white patrons in 2011
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled the Shark Club of Langley discriminated against a group of Indo-Canadians who were denied entry one night, and ordered it to pay $30,000 in damages — $10,000 to each man who registered a complaint.
The tribunal called what happened at the door to the Langley Shark Club on Dec. 9, 2011 "disturbing."
A small group of Indo-Canadian men and women were running about 15 minutes late for their reservation at the sports bar, and were stopped at the door by two bouncers. That's where the stories of what happened next diverge.
The bouncers say they refused the group entry because one of the men, Surinderjit Rai, didn't have his ID.
The tribunal said it didn't believe that claim. The judge said that Rai, who frequently cross-border shops and whose wife works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, likely had multiple pieces of ID on him. The judge said there was no reason that Rai should not have been admitted to the club.
The group told the tribunal how the bouncers denied them entry, telling them that they were late for their reservation and that that they needed special tickets to get in. At the same time, the bouncers were allowing white patrons without any special tickets to enter.
Rai then said he would file a complaint against the bouncers, and took a photo of them. Then, one of the bouncers, Andrew Schmah, assaulted Rai.
The Human Rights Tribunal judge ordered the Shark Club of Langley to pay the three men who registered the complaint $10,000 each to compensate them for their time, frustration and for the "injury to dignity and self-respect" they suffered the night their entry was refused.
With files from the CBC's Jodie Martinson