Tribunal rejects complaint over alleged assault by Vancouver mall guards
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has decided not to hear a complaint filed by three Vancouver men who alleged they were brutally beaten by private security guards at Harbour Centre Mall.
Shawn Alexander, Richard Kreke, and Luis Larrain filed the human-rights complaint and a related lawsuit last June with support from Pivot Legal Society.
The men alleged they were taken to secluded areas by guards from Fusion Security and assaulted during two separate incidents at the downtown mall in October and December 2010.
In the human-rights complaint, the men said they are alcoholics and argued the condition is a disability that served as the basis for the discrimination.
Fusion Security and Harbour Centre Mall argued against the tribunal accepting the complaint, saying the allegations do not constitute a violation of the B.C. Human Rights Code.
In a decision issued on March 21, tribunal chair Bernd Walter concluded the complaint would not be accepted for filing.
Doug King, a Pivot Legal Society lawyer who represents the three men, said the decision is disappointing.
“I think we’re frustrated in that it seems to be very difficult to get a case accepted by the human rights tribunal that deals what we would call social condition,” he told the Straight by phone today (March 22).
King said the case shows there is a need to update the B.C. Human Rights Code so people who might appear to be poor are protected from discrimination.
“Unfortunately, for organizations like us that deal with individuals who are commonly seen as being from a lower class, it just makes it difficult for us to get in the door,” he said.
King said the lawsuit against the mall, the security firm, and the guards is in mediation.