First Nations woman’s rights complaint against Vancouver club dismissed
A First Nations woman who was kicked out of a downtown Vancouver club that allegedly told her people wearing moccasins would not be served has had her human-rights complaint dismissed.
Colleen Mitchell White accused the Roxy Cabaret of discrimination after she was forcibly removed from the establishment on Granville Street in March 2009.
Mitchell White was out for an evening of drinking beer and eating food with her partner and her brother when the group decided to visit the Roxy.
She was initially denied entry because she was carrying a golf club she had found on the sidewalk. Roxy staff members worried the club could be used as a weapon.
When Mitchell White returned minutes later without the golf club, she was again ejected from the Roxy. She alleged she was also told the venue does not serve people wearing moccasins, a type of traditional First Nations footwear.
Roxy doormen testified before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal that Mitchell White was aggressive and they believed she was drunk. Mitchell White was arrested the same evening by police and issued a ticket for being drunk in public, but she denied being intoxicated.
Akram Mohamed, one of the doormen, testified he only told Mitchell White her soft-soled “footwear” did not meet the dress code. He denied saying the club specifically does not serve people wearing moccasins.
Mitchell White also alleged she was called a prostitute, but the Roxy doormen denied calling her that.
In a written decision issued on June 11, tribunal member Robert Blasina determined there was no violation of the human rights code and dismissed the complaint.
“The only reason, I find, that the doormen did not let her in was because they thought she was drunk,” Blasina wrote.
“Were the circumstances the same, but were the Complainant not an Aboriginal Person, it is unlikely that she would have been treated any differently.”