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Montreal, March 14, 2007---The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the Bar Le Surf and its employees to pay $8,000 to each of the two Black males who were denied service because of their race.

In September 2003, two African Montrealers, Mr. Seydou Boubacar Diallo, a security guard and Mr. Mamadou El Bachir Gologo, a university student, arrived at the Bar Le Surf in Longueil, a major municipality south of Montreal. The two men were refused service by the bar personnel as there were orders from management not to serve any Black males. Bar employees told both men that since the bar had experienced problems involving Black men, it refused to serve Black individuals. Unable to get bar employees to change their minds, Mr. Diallo returned a few days later with a White journalist from the Journal de Montreal, Mr. Stephane Alarie, disguised as a Black male. Both were denied service (the conversation was recorded and published on October 3, 2003, in a series of Journal de Montreal news reports by Mr. Alarie on racism). CRARR filed the complaints with the Quebec human rights commission on behalf of Mr.Diallo and Mr. Gologo.

In its July 2006 decision, the Commission required the bar and the employees implicated to pay $12,500 in moral and punitive damages to each victim. Since the bar refused to comply, the case was brought before the Tribunal.

In its March 8, 2007 decision, the Tribunal found the bar and its employees jointly liable for the discrimination and ordered them to pay $5,000 in moral damages and $3,000 in punitive damages to each of the two men. It also required the bar to develop, post, and circulate to its employees an effective policy against racism.

For Mr. Diallo and CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi, the Tribunal has sent a strong and clear message against racism in commercial establishments and services in Quebec. However, they believed the damages could have been higher, given the “intensity of the humiliation experienced” by both Black men and the serious attack on their dignity.

“In 1993, the Tribunal awarded $2,000 in moral damages to two Black men who were denied entrance in a downtown Montreal restaurant. After fourteen years, the amount goes up to $5,000. It takes a long time for damages to become substantial and serious enough to have a dissuasive effect”, said Mr. Niemi with some disappointment.

As for Mr. Diallo, “$8,000 for discrimination and violation of my dignity, after three years, it's not much. However, the essential thing is that we have won and this decision should encourage all Black victims of racism to stand up for their rights.”