Racial profiling doesn’t pay in Toronto, Canada and Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant learned the hard way.
On May 3, 2014, Emile Wickham and three of his friends ate at the restaurant for his birthday. Reportedly, they were told to prepay their food because it was the restaurant’s “policy.” Wickham were the only Black customers at the restaurant and according to The Washington Post, “Wickham began going around to other tables in the restaurant and asking whether they, too, had been asked to pay for their meals ahead of time. No one else had had the same experience.”
According to court documents, the waiter admitted they were the only ones asked to prepay, “Rather than offer any explanation for the prepayment he simply asked them whether they wanted their money back. The applicant said that it was evident that the waiter simply wanted to end the conversation as quickly as possible, and was being very defensive.” The next year, Emile filed a racial profiling complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, a governmental board that resolves discrimination and harassment claims.
The restaurant’s defense? An attorney claimed Hong Shing staff had “adopted a policy years ago where waiters would ask for prepayment from customers who weren’t ‘regulars.'” The tribunal found no evidence of this selective policy and “Nearly four years after the incident, the human rights tribunal ruled this month that the restaurant had discriminated against the group in 2014 and ordered Hong Shing to pay Wickham $10,000 in damages.” See the restaurant’s statement about the ruling below:
Emile said on Twitter that he would have rather this did not happen at all. See below:
We are grateful Emil spoke out and this is how companies should pay for racial discrimination — straight from their pockets.