Barber refuses haircut to woman on religious grounds

359 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mr.Tea
Barber refuses haircut to woman on religious grounds

blank

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Mr.Tea

I'd be curious to hear what other people think of this. Personally, I'm with the barber.

http://www.xtra.ca/public/Toronto/Toronto_barber_shop_wont_cut_womens_ha...

All she wanted was a haircut.

But when Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop at Bay and Dundas streets, she was shocked to hear from the owner that no barber at the shop would cut a woman’s hair because it goes against their religious beliefs. 

McGregor has since filed a complaint about the June incident with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). 

The shop wasn’t busy that day, she says, and two barbers were standing at the back of the store. “I asked, ‘Do you do a businessman’s cut?’ It’s a basic haircut. They said they do.”

After describing the cut, owner Omar Mahrouk stopped her. “He just looked at me and said, 'I can’t do that. We don’t cut women’s hair here.'”

Mahrouk told her “it’s against his religion” to cut a woman’s hair, she says. Mahrouk and two other barbers refused, all saying they practise Islam, which forbids them to touch strange women, she says.

For his part, Mahrouk admits that he denied McGregor service. “I can cut my wife’s hair, but not a strange lady. For me this is not discrimination. I explained that I have nothing against woman. This is my religion. She did not accept it.”

Slumberjack

They should have their business licence immediately suspended pending investigation, and subsequently revoked if the allegations of denial of service based on gender are founded.  Otherwise there's no limit to who they and other establishments might refuse service to behind the shield of religion.

onlinediscountanvils

So they refused to give her a haircut because she's a woman - not because she's a lesbian, correct?

If the owner can't cut a woman's hair due to religious beliefs, then he should employ someone who can cut women's hair.

 

[cross-posted with Burch]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'm not sure the headline is appropriate.  The barber refused to cut the woman's hair because she was a woman...NOT because she was a lesbian.  He'd have refused if she was heterosexual as well.  The issue is religious teachings on gender, not sexual orientation.

As written, the headline seems mainly to be an effort to aggravate tensions between two different factions of what straight white Christian dudes would call "The Other".

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, it was likely that more than one of us would have seen the problem, online.

Michelle

Yeah, I don't get where the lesbian part comes in either.  I see why Xtra mentioned it - their target audience is GLBT and is news about things happening in the community.  But it's really not relevant to the thread title on babble.

And I agree with onlinediscountanvils - it's easy to make that accommodation in the workplace - just hire someone who CAN do women's hair.  It's clear that he has a number of employees, so there's no reason why at least one of them can't be someone who can touch a woman's hair. 

I agree that people's religious boundaries must be respected in the workplace, but when two competing human rights issues bump up against each other, they both have to be accommodated if possible.  In this case, it appears to be entirely possible, and I don't think it's an undue hardship to ensure that at least one person on staff can provide service to women.

Bacchus

True, except possibly if this was the first time he had ever had a woman come into his shop. If it was in a primarily ethnic neighbourhood, it would be unexpected.

 

Not saying it is, just that there could be more factors in play. Why go to the expense of a barber that can cut womens hair if you never get any women in there. That barber would make no money (they get paid by the customer not a hourly wage)

onlinediscountanvils

Bacchus wrote:
Why go to the expense of a barber that can cut womens hair if you never get any women in there. That barber would make no money (they get paid by the customer not a hourly wage)

 

The owner doesn't have to hire someone who cuts women's hair exclusively. He can hire someone who is willing and able to cut women's hair, in addition to cutting men's hair. It's pretty simple.

Mr.Tea

I don't see why he should have to hire a separate barber (and take on the added expense or be forced to let go of an existing barber, which could be seen as religious discrimination) for the incredibly rare occasion (this may be the first time) when he has a female customer. Barberships (unlike salons, stylists or whatever) really cater to men. I'm sure most of them WOULD cut a woman's hair and she's said that she already goes to barber shops to get hers done. So I don't really see the problem. There are plenty of barber shops for her to go to. This wasn't a medical emergency. Maybe she has to wait a day to get her haircut at the place she usually goes to. I almost wonder if this was some sort of set up she's engaging in and targetting a Muslim business. The comments under the article produced some incredibly racist statements.

I wonder if a man went into a women's salon and asked for a bikini wax, could the female proprieter refuse, not on religious grounds, but just out of personal comfort? Should that salon have to hire a male attendant for those rare occasions when a man comes in.

Mr.Tea

And, yes, people are correct to point out that this was based on the fact that she's a woman, not because of her sexual orientation. Presumably,  heterosexual woman would have also been refused, though this would seem to be an issue that would primarily affect lesbian women since they seem far more likely to frequent a traditionally male barber shop.

onlinediscountanvils

Mr.Tea wrote:
I don't see why he should have to hire a separate barber (and take on the added expense or be forced to let go of an existing barber, which could be seen as religious discrimination) for the incredibly rare occasion (this may be the first time) when he has a female customer.

When businesspeople make poor decisions they should have to accept the consequences of their decisions, just like anybody else. This guy didn't think it was necessary to hire anyone who was willing to cut women's hair, even though the Ontario Human Rights Code says you can't deny service based on sex. If he does have to hire another barber, rather than look at it as an added expense he should remember all the money he saved by not having his shop sufficiently staffed all this time. It's not an added expense. It's the cost of doing business in Ontario. He should just feel lucky that he managed to dodge that expense until someone finally called him on it.

Mr.Tea

Maybe someone can clarify the rules on denying service based on sex. For example, my wife belongs to a women's-only gym. If I tried to join, I'd be turned down because I'm a man. That's denying me service based on sex. It doesn't bother me. I belong to a different gym. Some of the women at my wife's gym are Orthodox Jews or Muslims who adhere to particular standards of modesty, others are just women who may not necessarily feel comfortable working out around men, being in revealing attire, maybe feeling judged or leered at, etc.

I can see plenty of services offered where a customer might prefer to have it done by a member of the same sex or where the personing offering it may not feel comfortable giving that service to a member of the opposite sex. I mentioned the example of a man wanting a woman at a salon to give him a bikini wax. I could see it in massage therapy. Don't even get me started on sex work...

Bacchus

This just smells like a setup to demonize muslims yet again especially with the comments. Geez, they are like going to freedominion

Mr.Tea

Bacchus wrote:

This just smells like a setup to demonize muslims yet again

See, Bachus, that's my suspicion as well. I just don't get it. The woman in question, apparently, has been going to traditionally male barbershops for some time now and getting her hair cut without a problem. Personally, I've been going to the same barber ever since I arrived in Canada. People tend to stick with their barber, at least in my experience. Seems weird that she would go to this shop she's never been to before, a shop whose entire staff, apparently, is Muslim and then turn this into a big deal, rather than just finding another barber. Or going back to her old one.

onlinediscountanvils

Mr.Tea wrote:
I just don't get it. The woman in question, apparently, has been going to traditionally male barbershops for some time now and getting her hair cut without a problem. Personally, I've been going to the same barber ever since I arrived in Canada. People tend to stick with their barber, at least in my experience.

That's just it. Your experience isn't always representative of other people's experiences. You go to the same barber all the time. Others don't. It's not like this is the first time a woman being refused service at a barbershop has made the news. Islamophobia doesn't appear to have anything to do with [url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2010/07/15/ottawa-imperial-ha... case in Ottawa[/url].

Bacchus

Nope that one seemed like a landlord backpeddling on what it was trying to force the barbershop to do, unlike the rest of that barbership chain elsewhere.

 

Not like this case where it really seems like the MSM is trying to get feminists and the GBLT community to start hunting muslims

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
Is it possible for The Lesbian to go to another barber shop??

 

Presumably. Just like it's possible for Disabled People to go to elsewhere when businesses refuse to accomodate them. That doesn't make it acceptable.

onlinediscountanvils

Bacchus wrote:
Nope that one seemed like a landlord backpeddling on what it was trying to force the barbershop to do, unlike the rest of that barbership chain elsewhere.

 

That was my point. There's precedent for women not being pleased when they're denied service because of their sex. Even when Muslims aren't involved.

 

Bacchus wrote:
Not like this case where it really seems like the MSM is trying to get feminists and the GBLT community to start hunting muslims

 

What MSM? You mean Xtra and the handful of blogs that have linked to it? I've done some searching, and I can't find the story anywhere else.

And "trying to get feminists and the GBLT community to start hunting muslims"? Where do you see that in this story? It seems to have been presented in a fairly balanced manner to me. The writer allowed both the complainant and the barber shop owner to present their respective takes of the issue, and included quotes from the barber's lawyer, the communications officer for the OHRC, and the Ontario Barber Association that were all favourable to the barber. Where are the pitchforks?

jas

Taking back my original comment for now. This  is a very interesting conflict of rights as defined in the Charter. 

But I do wonder what kind of "victory" the complainant hopes for here. It's certainly worthy of commentary, but most people would, in the end, simply go to another shop.

 

jas

Please note my edit above. I see that the article itself did not make issue of her sexual orientation.

But your comment isn't any more valid. You're conflating discrimination with accessibility issues, when this issue is about neither.

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
You're conflating discrimination with accessibility issues, when this issue is about neither.

 

How is this not about discrimination? The word and its variants appear 9 times in the article. Regardless of whether you side with the complainant or the barber, discrimination appears to be the issue here.

jas

I think the Commission will find that it's not a case of discrimination based on sex. If the barber were a restaurant owner instead, and Ms. McGregor came in for a meal, he would be able to serve her and, according to his claims here, he would serve her.

Funny that we haven't encountered this before. Are there no Muslim doctors, nurses, massage therapists, chiropractors?

Mr.Tea

Yes, no doubt this is discrimination. The question is whether it's justifiable discrimination. A bar refusing to serve alcohol to a 16 year old is engaging in discrimination and are legally required to do so. A bar that refuses to serve a black man is also engaging in discrimination and, in this case, is legally prohibited from doing so.

In this case, I'm not sure. Two values, freedom of religion and equal accomodation seem to be in conflict. I'd be very interested to see how this works out because it could have pretty wide ranging effects.

jas

Mr.Tea wrote:

A bar refusing to serve alcohol to a 16 year old is engaging in discrimination and are legally required to do so.

I don't think you would call this discrimination, except in its most broad, generic meaning, i.e., making a distinction between things. This is not the discrimination we are discussing here. Sixteen-year-olds do not have any "right" to be served alcohol.

jas

Probably a topic for another thread, but I was trying to think of an analogy in another industry. All I could come up with was prostitution. If prostitution were legalized and regulated, would prostitutes be allowed to turn down clients based on religion, sex, physical ability or any other reason outside of personal safety?

Mr.Tea

jas wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:

A bar refusing to serve alcohol to a 16 year old is engaging in discrimination and are legally required to do so.

I don't think you would call this discrimination, except in its most broad, generic meaning, i.e., making a distinction between things. This is not the discrimination we are discussing here. Sixteen-year-olds do not have any "right" to be served alcohol.

Right. The question is whether this woman has a "right" to get a haircut from this particular barber. "Discrimination" is a broad term. We discriminate against people because of their age with regards to certain things like driving, voting, drinking, etc. Universities discriminate against students who don't have certain grades. That's all fine. On the other hand, there are prohibited grounds for discrimination. You can't have a restaurant and enact a policy of "no blacks allowed". You can't discriminate based on race.

I think this situation is trickier mainly because I don't think race and sex are remotely analogous. We make distinctions about sex in all sorts of ways that we never would about race. I think it's reasonable to have separate bathrooms for men and women. It would be appalling to have separate bathrooms for blacks and whites. It's perfectly logical to have male sports teams and female sports teams. That blacks used to be barred from teams and confined to the "negro leagues" was a shameful period of history. I can understand why, for example, a woman might prefer to go to a female doctor. I'd be appalled, however, if a woman stated a preference for a white doctor. As I mentioned, my wife goes to a women's only gym. As a male, I'm fine with being discriminated against by them. I really have no greater objection to a men only barber shop, particularly if this person would be violating his religious beliefs by having it otherwise.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I think a little caution should be taken in comparing the refusal of service in this instance to refusal of service in other commercial transactions. The service that is being provided is one of personal care that involves physical contact with the customer - and, using the curious logic of believers of a number of faiths, physical contact involves the risk of ritual pollution to the service provider. The commercial transaction does not involve a simple transfer of goods... if it did, a human rights complaint would be a slam dunk for the one bringing the complaint forward. Given that it does involve physical contact, though, I suspect a human rights commission will ultimately come down on the side of protecting the right to believe whatever superstition you opt for (or your parents opted you in for) and ultimately dismiss the complaint. Insofar as I can tell from the facts provided in the story, there is no indication of animus on the part of the barber.

I am looking forward to a companion piece to this article, when a hypothetical (but likely creepy and lecherous) guy goes in to get a pedicure and is refused service by a female service provider. Strangely enough, I think he would be more likely to succeed if he launched a complaint - mostly because I am hard pressed to think of a system of superstitions where men are the ritually impure gender and hence it would be less likely that the pedicurist would have religious grounds to refuse physical contact with him.

 

Unionist

This isn't about the "rights" of Muslims not to touch "strange ladies" (quoting the article). The question here is this:

Can a barber shop, which offers services to the general public (i.e. isn't a private club of some kind), refuse to serve a woman who requests a type of haircut which the shop readily provides to men? We know that barber shops are "traditionally" for men, as contrasted with stylists.

The legal answer, I think, is very clearly "no" under the OHRC, which is the operative legislation in this case.

The Code makes very specifc exceptions where offering services on a discriminatory basis doesn't violate the Code:

Quote:

Special interest organizations

18.  The rights under Part I to equal treatment with respect to services and facilities, with or without accommodation, are not infringed where membership or participation in a religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institution or organization that is primarily engaged in serving the interests of persons identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination is restricted to persons who are similarly identified. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 18; 2006, c. 19, Sched. B, s. 10. [...]

Restriction of facilities by sex

20.  (1)  The right under section 1 to equal treatment with respect to services and facilities without discrimination because of sex is not infringed where the use of the services or facilities is restricted to persons of the same sex on the ground of public decency. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 20 (1).

Recreational clubs

(3)  The right under section 1 to equal treatment with respect to services and facilities is not infringed where a recreational club restricts or qualifies access to its services or facilities or gives preferences with respect to membership dues and other fees because of age, sex, marital status or family status. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 20 (3); 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (9); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (12).

I'm no expert on the Ontario Human Rights Code, but I have spent my life trying to figure out collective agreements, and I think the principle here is the same. The legislators stated:

1. When you offer services to the public, you can't discriminate on the basis of race, colour, disability, etc. - and sex.

2. There are some exceptions which we'll spell out in the legislation.

There's no way I can see that a barber shop serving the public (as opposed, say, to a barber within some private club) falls within any of the stated exceptions.

The Muslim thing is a bit of a red herring. This isn't about "competing rights" (sorry to disagree with the Ontario Human Rights person quoted in the story). It's about whether (for example) a landlord can refuse a Jew or a transsexual or a woman or whatever because of the landlord's religious beliefs. That's an easy "no". The solution is, don't be a landlord. Same with the Muslim barbers. Their recourse is to set up a business that falls within one of the parameters I've quoted above (or there may be some other possible workarounds in the Code that I missed).

ETA: All of Mr.Tea's examples (underage drinking, women's gyms, etc.) are covered explicitly by provisions of the Code. He may have no problem with men-only barber shops. Human rights legislation has a problem with that.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

@Unionist

I only saw your comment after my own posted... I see your reasoning up to a point, but again, you are not referring to a transaction involving physical contact - can you think of an example where that applies? The example you offered, providing accomodation as a landlord, does not necessarily entail physical contact with the one seeking the service.

Unionist

bagkitty wrote:

@Unionist

I only saw your comment after my own posted... I see your reasoning up to a point, but again, you are not referring to a transaction involving physical contact - can you think of an example where that applies? The example you offered, providing accomodation as a landlord, does not necessarily entail physical contact with the one seeking the service.

The law doesn't require a Muslim to touch a woman. It requires a barber shop to serve a woman who is requesting (as in this case) exactly the same kind of haircut as a man. The shop can hire a less rigorous Muslim, or a non-Muslim, or stop serving the public by bringing itself within the clauses I cited, or shut down.

The point is that if there is to be an exception, it must be sanctified by law. For example, Canadian law allows religious homophobes to officiate over weddings that attain legal recognition while refusing to conduct non-straight marriages. The law says that specifically. If it didn't, the homophobes would be shit out of luck, as I pray they will be someday.

It has nothing to do with physical contact. Some very orthodox Jews (and maybe Muslims, I don't know) aren't allowed to be alone in a room with a woman who isn't a family member. That could make it difficult or expensive to run some businesses, by always needing a chaperone. But if they want to serve the public, they have to serve women. And persons of colour. And queers. And German-Canadians. And diabetics. Etc.

Hope that's clearer.

ETA: See, bagkitty, look at section 18 which I quoted above. If the barber shop were to transform itself into some non-profit entity, it could probably get away with its discrimination. But there's no constitutional or statutory right in Canada to run a commercial barber shop, so that non-existent "right" can't trump the right of women to be treated equally to men (and vice versa).

 

Mr.Tea

Good point, bagkitty. I think "personal care" services involving physical contact or some sort of intimacy (perceived or otherwise) is different from say, selling products. If a convenience store owner refused to sell a can of Coke to a woman, he'd have no leg to stand on. (Though I recall a case where a bar that catered to gay men had a policy of not allowing women into the bar. Again, I don't have a huge problem with that if they're trying to create a safe and comfortable space for themselves).

Which is why I brought up the hypothetical of a man wanting a "bikini wax" from a woman at a salon. What's the solution there? Should the woman be forced to provide the service if it makes her uncomfortable or goes against her religious beliefs. Should she be forced to take on teh expense of hiring a male attendant for those rare occasions when a male customer wants the service?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

@Unionist.

Actually, I find it no clearer. If the service requires physical contact (as in barbershop, or a manicure shop... all the "personal service" industries as a matter of fact) the requirement to serve is precisely a requirement to come into physical contact. While the story that brought the question to the fore involved a shop with multiple barbers, I think the existence of a very large number of single "owner/operator" personal service businesses would give a human rights commission pause in setting a precedent of the nature you seem to be contemplating.

jas

Unionist wrote:

I'm no expert on the Ontario Human Rights Code, but I have spent my life trying to figure out collective agreements, and I think the principle here is the same. The legislators stated:

1. When you offer services to the public, you can't discriminate on the basis of race, colour, disability, etc. - and sex.

2. There are some exceptions which we'll spell out in the legislation.

There's no way I can see that a barber shop serving the public (as opposed, say, to a barber within some private club) falls within any of the stated exceptions.

Um, except in the Charter. You seem to have ignored your own point No. 2

Unionist

jas wrote:

Um, except in the Charter. You seem to have ignored your own point No. 2

Um, which "Charter"? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms only applies to governmental institutions, not to private organizations. It might, arguably, apply to a barber shop in Queen's Park or the House of Commons.

 

 

Michelle

lagatta, if a male client at a nail shop is acting "lecherous" towards female staff, then the female staff have every right to deny service.  They're not doing it based on his sex or gender, but because of his behaviour.

In fact, I would argue that the owner of the hypothetical nail shop would have a duty to ensure that her staff do not have to serve men who are behaving lecherously towards them, as a health and safety precaution.

I actually think female-only gyms are problematic, personally, even though Unionist cited the law that gives them an exemption from having to obey the legislation.  I think that if there is a problem with men harassing women in a gym, or an issue with women needing a separate space to exercise because of religious reasons or whatever, then perhaps gyms should set up two areas, one co-ed, one women only (and, if demand warrants, perhaps one that's men only, since some men might also feel self-conscious exercising in front of women).

Unionist

bagkitty wrote:

@Unionist.

Actually, I find it no clearer. If the service requires physical contact (as in barbershop, or a manicure shop... all the "personal service" industries as a matter of fact) the requirement to serve is precisely a requirement to come into physical contact. While the story that brought the question to the fore involved a shop with multiple barbers, I think the existence of a very large number of single "owner/operator" personal service businesses would give a human rights commission pause in setting a precedent of the nature you seem to be contemplating.

@bagkitty - I'm just looking at this from the viewpoint of the law. I've found, in the OHRC, a prohibition against discrimination in the provision of services on the basis of sex. Can you find a religious exception to that in the case of a commercial establishment? I can't.

You want a complication? Here's one. A hair-stylist establishment caters to both males and females - same stylists do both. A Muslim applies for employment. He advises the establishment that he can't touch women customers. NOW his religious rights come into play - as an employee:

OHRC wrote:

5.  (1)  Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 5 (1); 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (5); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (5); 2012, c. 7, s. 4 (1).

As per the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation, the stylist shop can't just say, "sorry, we only hire people who can serve both sexes". The prospective employer is required to make every reasonable effort to accommodate the prospective employee's religious convictions up to the point of undue hardship. This would require a very serious assessment - proportion of male to female customers, size of the establishment, reasonableness of having the Muslim employee cater only to male customers, how much of a hardship that would impose, etc. etc. - and the burden of refusal to hire (or promote or continue to employ, as the case may be) would be on the employer.

But if it's (say) an individual self-employed stylist offering services to the public, I see no such provision in the law that allows his religious beliefs to be even considered, let alone given any serious weight, in trumping the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex.

 

jas

Unionist wrote:

Um, which "Charter"? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms only applies to governmental institutions, not to private organizations. It might, arguably, apply to a barber shop in Queen's Park or the House of Commons.

Unionist, what are you talking about? The Charter applies to all Canadian citizens. There's no provincial code that can opt out of it (without a sec. 33 act of legislature.)

Unionist

jas wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Um, which "Charter"? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms only applies to governmental institutions, not to private organizations. It might, arguably, apply to a barber shop in Queen's Park or the House of Commons.

Unionist, what are you talking about? The Charter applies to all Canadian citizens. There's no provincial code that can opt out of it (without a sec. 33 act of legislature.)

1. It applies to all, not just citizens. The only rights specifically reserved to "citizens" are the right to vote or run for office; mobility rights; and minority language rights. All the biggies (expression, association, religion, equality of sexes, etc. etc.) apply to non-citizens as well.

2. It applies to all people dealing with governmental institutions. You can't cite the Charter in a dispute with your neighbour or your local hardware store or your (non-governmental) employer.

Section 32:

Quote:
32.   (1)This Charter applies
(a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and (b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

From the Canadian Heritage [url=http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/pdp-hrp/canada/guide/appl-eng.cfm]website[/url] (or scores of others - easy to find):

Quote:
The purpose of this section is to make it clear that the Charter only applies to governments, and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations.

 

 

jas

I don't think there are any provisions in any code in Canada that state that a Muslim-owned establishment must accommodate non-Muslim clientele in a way that contravenes their religion. If there was no other barber in the shop who could cut this god-forsaken woman's hair, she has the freedom to go somewhere else! Just as non-Muslim services cannot always accommodate Muslim needs.

jas

.

jas

Unionist wrote:

Quote:
The purpose of this section is to make it clear that the Charter only applies to governments, and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations.

Where did this paragraph come from? Did you make it up? [ETA: sorry, you did provide the source.]

NEVERTHELESS:

Unionist, you are seriously misunderstanding the language and meaning of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms!

6079_Smith_W

 

Unionist wrote:

The purpose of this section is to make it clear that the Charter only applies to governments, and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations.

I don't see how that changes the question.

As it stands the barbershop is probably in breach of the law, as you correctly point out. But as the article states, the tribunal is going to have to look at a competing set of rights, which are not absolute.

If there winds up being a Charter argument on this, either at this stage or at a court challenge, what it is going to affect is the application of that law. That only makes sense, because you'd expect what they find in this case to apply in any other similar case; it's not a special ruling for this barbershop.

 

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

Unionist wrote:

The purpose of this section is to make it clear that the Charter only applies to governments, and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations.

I don't see how that changes the question.

Jas introduced the Charter, for some reason. The Charter does not apply to this dispute. I'm not going to belabour this point. Everyone has access to Google.

Quote:
As it stands the barbershop is probably in breach of the law, as you correctly point out. But as the article states, the tribunal is going to have to look at a competing set of rights, which are not absolute.

I don't think so. Muslims can't be forced to touch women. That's not what this case is about.

Quote:
If there winds up being a Charter argument on this, either at this stage or at a court challenge, what it is going to affect is the application of that law. That only makes sense, because you'd expect what they find in this case to apply in any other similar case; it's not a special ruling for this barbershop.

No. It's the Ontario Human Rights Code. Any ruling will of course have precedential effect beyond just this barber shop, although there may be different facts in different cases. That's true no matter which law is under discussion.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist, there have been cases of provincial Human Rights tribunal rulings being appealed to the Supreme Court. The case of Bill Whatcott is just one which is before that court right now, with some Charter arguments on the table.

While I can't guess what the tribunal is going to find, it may not be quite as open and shut as you imply, or be limited to the constraints you are setting. I'll wait to see what they say.

And I said that while the tribunal may just look at whether the barbershp's actions are within the law, this may ultimately get to the point where the application of the law is considered.

(edit)

And I should say, I'm not assuming it is going to get to that point. I'm just responding to the notion that the Charter is irrelevant.

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
she has the freedom to go somewhere else!

 

Of course she does. But she also has the right to not be discriminated against because of her sex. She's free to go to a different barber, but the barber is not free to refuse service just because she's a woman. The choice is hers, not his.

Unionist

I can't believe anyone here would defend a "no women allowed" establishment by saying, "she has the freedom to go somewhere else!" No matter where you stand on the specific issue of this barber shop. In other words - what onlinediscountanvils just said.

 

jas

Anvils, please see my post #22.

My bet is the Commission will decide that she does not have the right to ask a Muslim barber to accommodate her in a way that contravenes his religion. He is not employed in the public service; he is not being paid by public dollars. She has many other options. It's not like she's at the EI office or the RCMP or Revenue Canada and is being refused service.

jas

Unionist, it's not a "no women allowed" environment. They didn't bar her from entering the shop. It's simply that he can't touch her, kooky as that may seem to you.

jas

In a society where we promote multiculturalism, tolerance and accommodation, this is a strange conversation to be having. The more I think about it, the more I find Ms. McGregor's complaint petty and frivolous. It effectively trivializes the real rights and freedoms that secure and strengthen our relationships with each other in the last three decades.

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
My bet is the Commission will decide that she does not have the right to ask a Muslim barber to accommodate her in a way that contravenes his religion.

I'm certainly no expert on Islam, but I somehow doubt that he's forbidden from hiring someone who is willing and able to cut women's hair. That would be the more likely remedy, as opposed to; he'll be compelled by law to personally cut women's hair.

Quote:
If the OHRC finds that the barber shop violated McGregor's rights, it could order a monetary settlement or order the shop to implement a set of “public remedies,” such as ordering the shop to offer services “in a way that is considered non-discriminatory.” That may involve hiring additional staff, for example, she says.

“It’s not a punitive process per se; it’s about bringing the person back to a place that is not discriminatory.”

Pages