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.