The BC Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Langley bar to pay $30,000 for refusing entry to three Indo-Canadians.
Surinderjit Rai, Manjit Gill, and Manjinder Gill will each receive $10,000 from the Shark Club, the tribunal ruled Friday.
The incident happened on Dec. 9, 2011, when the three people turned up 15 minutes late for a celebration being held by a close friend in the Walnut Grove night spot.
The trio was denied entry by doorman Andrew Schmah. While they were told the club was full and they couldn't enter as they were late, they saw Caucasians going in without any trouble. When the Indo-Canadians asked if the new customers had tickets or reservations, the new customers said they did not.
When they complained and asked for Schmah's name, he gave a false last name. Rai then took a photo of Schmah with his phone, and Schmah attacked and put Rai into a headlock, demanding that he erase the photo, all three complainants testified.
Schmah later pleaded guilty to assault and was given a year's probation for the attack. Rai was not seriously hurt.
There were no racial taunts or slurs used, according to any witness.
The testimony of former club manager Brent Chow, Schmah, and another doorman, Sean Bell, was more varied.
Schmah said he had not allowed in the trio because Rai didn't have identification, and that they then became belligerent, called him a racist, tried to bribe him into letting them in, and began shouting and swearing.
Chow also claimed that one of the group threatened to get a gun and shoot Schmah.
"The events of December 9, 2011 are disturbing," wrote tribunal member Norman Trerise in his decision on the case. "I am satisfied that Mr. Schmah made the decision to deny entrance to the complainants and the rest of their party for reasons entirely unrelated
to the provision of identification or any belligerence on behalf of the complainants."
Trerise said there were numerous credibility issues with the testimony of the club's doormen and manager.
"Their evidence was selfserving, internally contradictory, and contradictory
as between themselves," Trerise wrote.
He found the testimony of the three complainants was "largely coherent."
Trerise wrote that "the Shark Club has provided no viable explanation for refusing the Rai Group entry to their premises."
"I find that the evidence of Mr. Schmah and Mr. Chow respecting their reasons for denying access to the Rai Group were fabricated in order to advance the case of the Shark Club," he added.
Trerise ordered the Shark Club to cease to contravene the B.C. Human Rights Code, and to pay $30,000 in damages to injury and self respect of the three members of the Rai group.
Rai also said the ruling will give notice to other bars and restaurants they can't treat people differently because of how they look.
He said he and his friends were pleased the tribunal agreed to the $10,000 award.
None of the three employees who testified at the hearing work for the Shark Club now.
Shark Club president Laurids Skaarup said from its Calgary head office that he was "troubled and disappointed with the ruling." He said the Shark Club "always and will always welcome every ethnicity."
The fact that there was a large party of Indo-Canadians already inside when the three arrived proved the restaurant didn't discriminate against Indo-Canadians, he said. -With files from the Vancouver Province
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