Tribunal awards Lorna Pardy $22,000 for discrimination at Vancouver comedy show

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has awarded a woman more than $22,000 after she complained that she was harassed at an open-mic comedy show in Vancouver.

Lorna Pardy alleged she was discriminated against on the basis of her sexuality following a heated encounter with comedian Guy Earle at Zesty Restaurant on Commercial Drive.

Pardy went to the restaurant as a patron on the night of May 22, 2007 to meet her then-partner Zoe Broomsgrove and a friend.

After sitting outside, the group was brought inside by staff when the patio closed and they were seated near the stage during the comedy performance, hosted by Earle.

After seeing Pardy and Broomsgrove kiss, Earle directed homophobic and profanity-laced comments at their table from the stage, according to the tribunal’s reasons for decision.

Pardy, who was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, said she felt threatened and humiliated.

The respondents denied they discriminated and Earle argued he was just dealing with hecklers.

The respondents also said the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to consider the case but the tribunal disagreed.

Pardy filed the complaint in September 2007 and the hearing took place in March and April 2010.

In the reasons for decision issued today (April 20), tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams said Pardy’s complaint is justified against Earle, Zesty Food Services Inc., and the restaurant’s proprietor Salam Ismail.

“Mr. Earle’s treatment of Ms. Pardy was both verbal and physical, and involved both aggressiveness and physical contact,” Geiger-Adams wrote.

“In my view, in the circumstances disclosed by the reliable evidence in this case, it is important both to Ms. Pardy and to the public to clearly identify that the conduct engaged in by Mr. Earle, in particular, was a breach of Ms. Pardy’s human rights under the Code.”

Earle has been ordered to pay Pardy $15,000 for injury to dignity, feelings, and self respect.

Zesty and Ismail have been ordered to pay Pardy $7,500 for injury to dignity, feelings, and self respect.

Pardy is also to be paid for lost wages and interest on the awards of damages.

Comments

42 Comments

East Van Damn

Apr 20, 2011 at 4:13pm

This is absolutely absurd....and shame on The Straight for offering only half of the truth.
The next time you're at a Canucks game be sure and look around before yelling "The Blackhawks Suck!". You never know when a nearby 'Hawks fan will sic this sham we call a Human Rights Tribunal on you.

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Taxpayers R Us

Apr 20, 2011 at 4:14pm

This case is complete BS, brought forth and made frivolous by an activist lawyer (PTSD? Shell shock for a response to heckling??) and will be overturned if the respondents appeal to a real court, with real judges and real lawyers.

Frankly, she should be charged with assault and made to pay for the indignity she caused him.

This is why the tribunal is a complete joke.

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Ian Boothby

Apr 20, 2011 at 6:27pm

"Earle directed homophobic and profanity-laced comments at their table from the stage, according to the tribunal’s reasons for decision."
Yes, he directed those words from the stage. A place where free speech needs to be allowed. Then the audience member threw a drink at the comedian when he was offstage twice. They turned it into something physical. He removed her sunglasses and broke them. Maybe, maybe he or the restaurant should have paid for the sunglasses. What really should have happened is Purdy should have been ejected from the restaurant for heckling and disrupting a comedy show. But we ended up in a Bizarro-Land where she's reward for her behavior. This is a shameful decision with no recourse to overturn it.

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LoubyBlue

Apr 20, 2011 at 6:30pm

First of all they refered to Guy Earle as a Comedian so the report is already false. Second this is a slap in the face to people actually suffering from the horrible affliction of PTSD. Guy Earle should have beened barred from doing 'Comedy' and the chick should have to pay the taxpayers for being a Twat.

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waiter not a hater

Apr 20, 2011 at 6:34pm

As much as I hate pc crybabies who infringe on free speech, this isn't the case here. For one, it wasn't a comedy club but a restaurant, and by being brought in from the patio she didn't know what she was signing up for. Second, she wasn't a heckler -- he engaged them first and in a derogatory way. You just can't do that in a place that's primarily an eating establishment -- the law's the law.

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Fitz in Van

Apr 20, 2011 at 7:45pm

I agree with the idea of a human rights tribunal in principle, but this case makes a travesty of the concept.

Seriously, Earle might have been a jerk, but HE'S A COMEDIAN. The plaintiff heckled and threw water on him and he called her a bad name. This case is a frivolous sham.

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Emil

Apr 20, 2011 at 8:03pm

What a load of CRAP It said that it was a heated encounter,,,,sry that takes two for that. and physical contact,,,,thats a stretch and as for the the stress disorder Lorna you got more problems than we are hearing about and you need help...BIGTIME

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A.

Apr 20, 2011 at 9:12pm

I get injury to my dignity, feelings, and self respect all the time. :(

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Mark A Roberts

Apr 20, 2011 at 11:54pm

Social Justice ROCKS!!! It may have taken a while but this shows that there can be Justice here in Canada.

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RCL

Apr 21, 2011 at 1:14am

I don't remember anyone defending Michael Richards' words by saying, "He's a comedian!"

Earle made homophobic remarks. He instigated a situation which got completely out of hand.

This case does not reflect a comedian's lack of right to free speech on a stage, it represents the law stating that harassment based on one's sexual orientation is hateful and not permitted.

Who cares about 22, 000.00? That's chump change compared to 29 billion towards fighter jets..