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Saturday, March 22, 2008

B.C. Sikh man wins discrimination complaint against Calgary nightclub

A Calgary nightclub has been fined about $5,000 by Alberta's human rights commission for refusing entry to a Sikh man from Vancouver.

Jaspal Randhawa, a 33-year-old Canadian-born accountant, launched a racial discrimination complaint after he and two of his friends tried to get into the Tequila nightclub on 17th Avenue SW in July 2004.

Randhawa, who wears a turban as part of his Sikh faith, asked the doorman whether the club had any policies against allowing people with turbans inside. When told it was fine, Randhawa got into the line full of Stampede revelers.

According to Randhawa's complaint filed with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, another bouncer approached Randhawa 10 minutes later and told him he wouldn't be allowed in because "the owners want to maintain a certain image and don't want clients to say there are a lot of 'brown' people inside."

On Wednesday, a human rights commission panel agreed that Randhawa was discriminated against and awarded him $3,500 plus interest for injury to his dignity and self-respect, as well as $800 in expenses.

The panel also ordered the club to bring in a specific policy on racial discrimination in the workplace within two months, and to train all staff about it.

"I hope this is going to be a wake-up call for the nightclub industry," said Randhawa on Wednesday from Vancouver.

"This is hopefully going … to act as a benchmark that these policies are not going to be tolerated and not taken lightly." [Link]

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