News – “Toronto restaurant ordered to pay $10,000 after asking black customers to prepay for their meal” – The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Chinese restaurant in downtown Toronto to pay a black man $10,000 as compensation for a rights violation after it required him and three black companions to prepay for their meals.

In May, 2014, Emile Wickham went to Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant, a popular establishment just east of Toronto’s Chinatown, for a late-night birthday dinner with friends. After the server took their order, he told the group they would need to pay for their meals in full before receiving them, according to testimony Mr. Wickham gave at the April tribunal hearing. They questioned the server, who explained this was restaurant policy, and they obliged.

But Mr. Wickham was unsettled by this. Realizing he and his companions were the only black people in the restaurant, he approached other diners to ask if they’d been required to prepay and all said no.

When the server later returned to the table, Mr. Wickham and his friends questioned him about the policy, and the server admitted they were the only ones who had prepaid. He and another staff member asked Mr. Wickham and his friends if they wanted a refund. The group took their money and left the restaurant.

In her decision, adjudicator Esi Codjoe concluded that restaurant staff 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.”

“His mere presence as a Black man in a restaurant was presumed to be sufficient evidence of his presumed propensity to engage in criminal behaviour,” she wrote.

 It’s sad that in 2018 we’re still seeing stuff like this happen regularly, butttt at least people have a chance to get paid when it happens. Keep it up racists. Seriously though, stop. 

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