Barber refuses haircut to woman on religious grounds

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theleftyinvestor

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/02/22/muslim_barbers_and_woman_whos...

The woman who filed a human rights complaint after being denied a lunchtime haircut has worked things out in a confidential agreement with the barbershop owner.

Faith McGregor filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after Omar Mahrouk, owner of the Terminal Barber Shop, told her they couldn’t cut a woman’s hair because of their religion.

“It was reached through mediation, so it was decided upon by the both of us. We both came to a mutual agreement,” said McGregor, adding that she was happy with the outcome.

McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop’s Bay St. location in June to get a haircut. Like many barbershops, they don’t do women’s styles — but McGregor has short hair and wanted a “businessman” cut — short on the sides, tapered, trim up the top.

Mahrouk explained that since he and all of his barbers were Muslim, they were unable to cut her hair, prompting McGregor to launch the complaint.

The nature of the dispute pitted freedom of religion against a woman’s right not to be refused service based on her gender.

As part of the arrangement, the resolution must remain private. When asked if anything will change at the barbershop, Mahrouk cites the confidentiality of their agreement.

He was satisfied with the mediation, which took place Friday morning.

“I feel really good. Finally we came to an arrangement and it was good. It was like a family gathering — we got together and we had a good talk,” he said.

6079_Smith_W

Nice. It's very nice to hear that people can work things out in that way now and then.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Good to see the HRT doing its job well. When both sides walk out of mediation happy it is a good outcome to a complaint.

theleftyinvestor

I'm glad it was resolved to the satisfaction of both. Is it perhaps better that no legal precedent was set by this case? In other words, rather than setting a precedent "this right was more important than that one", the message is: "You both have valid rights. Find a way to work it out because you probably don't want the courts to wade into this."

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Mediation is always offered by Human Rights Tribunal.  Their purpose is to end discrimination not punish people for discriminating.  A mediated settlement can result in better access to services for other people in a similar situation and that is a worthy goal all on its own.

jas

theleftyinvestor wrote:

I'm glad it was resolved to the satisfaction of both. Is it perhaps better that no legal precedent was set by this case? In other words, rather than setting a precedent "this right was more important than that one", the message is: "You both have valid rights. Find a way to work it out because you probably don't want the courts to wade into this."

Yes, that seems to be the message, since McGregor's apparent sole reason for filing the complaint was on principle. So something apparently has come out of mediation that satisifes her need to have that principle recognized.

On the other hand, since it could come up again in other situations, it would be helpful to know what the remedial action is. I would think Muslim barbershops, for one, might want to know what is legally expected of them in these situations.

Unionist

Settlements are often a good solution. But confidential settlements can be iffy where new ground is being broken. This isn't what the complainant was quoted as saying she was looking for in the original reports. But unless you know all the facts, it's hard to judge.

In short, I'm kinda with jas on this one. And if I were a betting person, I'd wager that some sum of money changed hands (even though again she said she didn't want money). It's hard to imagine what, other than that, could have merited privacy.

6079_Smith_W

On the other hand, if it is a matter of public concern they are just as open to a similar complaint as they were before this one was settled.

Seems to me the way to figure that out is to stroll by their front door. No big mystery at all. And I wouldn't assume anything more than both parties have reached a settlement, or that we need to know at all what they agreed on.

 

 

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