A popular sports bar in Canada has been fined for racially discriminating against three Indo-Canadians by denying them entry for a graduation party two years ago. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Shark Club of Langley caused injury to the dignity and self-respect of Surinderjit Rai, Manjit Gill and Manjinder Gill by denying entry on December 9, 2011. The tribunal awarded the men Canadian dollars 10,000 each.
According to the tribunal's decision, the men arrived 15 minutes late for their reservation and were told they could not join the rest of their 20-person party already inside. The trio was then told by doorman Andrew Schmah that the restaurant had been reserved for a ticketed party and they could only enter if they purchased a ticket or were on a reservation list, Vancouver Sun reported.
After offering to purchase tickets and pleading with the doormen to let them in, the men asked several Caucasian customers whether they had reservations or tickets and found several instances where that was not the case. The situation worsened when Rai asked the doorman for his name and, not confident that he had been truthful, took a photograph. Schmah then assaulted Rai and the group called police.
Tribunal member Norman Trerise described the incident as "disturbing" and noted Schmah and other respondents gave inconsistent testimony. Trerise found the club's argument that the group was denied entry because Rai lacked proper identification was a fabrication. The doormen's claims that Rai had been belligerent were found unsubstantiated.
"I find that the combination of the Rai group's persistent inability to access the Shark Club, the continued refusal to admit them while allowing Caucasian patrons unrestricted access, the fabrication by the respondent's witnesses of the reason for denying them entrance and the physical assault on Mr Rai, all in the absence of alleged provocation, satisfy me that the Rai group's race, colour and ancestry were factors in the actions of Mr Schmah," Trerise wrote in his report.