When some young men were asked to pay a $20 cover charge at a London, Ontario bar they challenged it as a Human Rights case.
When some men were asked to pay a $20 cover charge at a London, Ontario bar because it was Ladies Night, they challenged it under Human Rights legislation.
Kyle Maclean and some friends went to the Barking Frog Nightclub in London last September, for a couple of drinks. When the doorman told him it was ‘ladies night’ and the $10 cover charge for women was double for men, he left.
After thinking about it, Maclean went to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal where he filed a claim of discrimination based on sex. Before the Tribunal went ahead, Vice Chair Mark Hart held a preliminary hearing via teleconference in February. He wanted to assess whether Maclean had a reasonable chance of proving his case. In April he released a decision dismissing the application.
Hart noted that the Ontario Human Rights Code recognizes that there are differences in treatment and that not all of them are a violation of equality rights.
He also said the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that to prove discrimination you have to show that the action “creates a disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or stereotyping.”
Hart did not accept Maclean’s reasoning that by charging men twice the amount women were charged The Barking Frog was perpetuating a belief in society that men are less worthy than women.
He said the history of gender discrimination in Ontario reveals the opposite. Women have had to fight for the right to vote and for equal pay for equal work. Furthermore, he suggested that discrimination against women still exists through under-representation in management and political positions of power.
Hart also rejected Maclean’s argument that charging a higher cover charge for men discourages them from entering the bar. He said ladies nights were not instituted to exclude men, but to increase bar profits by encouraging more men to show up because there were more women.