Discrimination alleged to Human Rights Tribunal

A man claiming he was denied entry into the Langley Shark Club because of the colour of his skin will get to tell his story to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

Suringerjit Rai filed a complaint with the tribunal alleging the Shark Club of Langley discriminated against him because he is Indo-Canadian.

The Shark Club said the complaint should be dismissed because Rai was denied entry for non-discriminatory reasons. They claim he was denied entry because he had no ID and for his subsequent belligerence.

On Aug. 15, B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski denied the dismissal request by the Shark Club, saying a hearing “with the benefit of a full document disclosure and the opportunity for cross-examination is required to determine whether this complaint is justified.”

On Dec. 9, 2011, Rai states in his claim that he, his wife, and three friends, all of whom are Indo-Canadian, went to the club to attend a graduation party for a friend/relative.

The other 21 Indo-Canadian party members were already inside the club.

Rai said they arrived 15 minutes past the reservation time and were told they could not enter because the rest of the guests were already inside at the ticketed event.

Rai claims they pleaded with the doorman to let them in. The host of the group was called and also asked the doorman to let them in but to no avail, he states.

Rai claims he watched around 20 Caucasians go inside while they were being denied entry.

From Rai’s perspective, he states that he asked the doorman’s name and then took a picture of him. A scuffle resulted and Rai was knocked to the ground.

Almost all of Rai’s information is denied by Shark Club.

From four signed statements from management and two doormen at the Sharks Club, the reason Rai was denied entry is because he didn’t have any ID.

Langley’s Shark Club is part of Bar Watch which requires each patron to produce two pieces of ID that are scanned through a computer system to check if they are known.

The club also said it does not allow people into the club who are acting belligerent, intoxicated, abusive, etc.

The manager of the bar said he arrived to the scene of Rai yelling at the doorman. He told the group they weren’t going to be allowed entry because of their aggression and attitude.

Management claims that Rai and his group remained in the parking lot taunting the doorman.

The Shark Club points out that if the business was racist, it wouldn’t have let in the rest of his group, which were Indo-Canadian.

Rai denies that the doorman asked him or his group for ID.

The tribunal said a hearing is often necessary so conflicting evidence can be fully explored.

The date for the hearing hasn’t been set.

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