The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Chinese restaurant to pay Sh1 million ($10,000) to a black man after the restaurant violated his rights by expecting him and his companions to pay for a meal before receiving it.
In May 2014, Emile Wickam went to Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant for a late birthday dinner with friends.
A server then told them that they would be required to pay for their meals in full before receiving them.
After questioning the server, he said that it was restaurant policy and they obliged.
Wickam however, noticed they were the only black people in the restaurant and after inquiring other diners, he found that they were the only ones required to prepay for their food.
When the server later returned, he admitted that Wickam and his friends were the only ones asked to prepay for their meals.
Human rights violation.
The adjudicator for the Tribunal Esi Codjoe found that the restaurant had violated section 1 of the province’s human-rights code – which guarantees equal treatment when accessing goods, services and facilities – when they treated Mr. Wickham as “a potential thief in waiting.”
According to The Globe and Mail, the restaurant didn't attend the hearing or send legal representation.
After Wickam submitted his human rights complaint, the restaurant sent a response saying "the restaurant “attracts something of a transient crowd” and dine and dashes were common, so they adopted a policy requiring customers whom staff did not recognize as regulars to prepay for their food." the Mail reports.
Codjoe rejected this as there was no evidence that the policy existed.