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Settlement reached in Moko case

Settlement reached in Moko case

A settlement has been reached in a case in which a woman was refused service in a Gisborne bar because she has a Moko on her chin.

The incident took place on 18 May 2001 when staff at Scotty's Bar and Grill in Gisborne refused service to local woman Kay Robin on the basis of the bar's "no facial or offensive tattoos" policy. The bar owner's name remains confidential as part of the settlement.

The bar owner agreed that the "no facial" portion of the bar's policy was in breach of the indirect discrimination provision of the Human Rights Act (Section 65), and that this portion would be removed from the sign.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres commended the Director of Human Rights Proceedings and both the complainant and bar owner for their willingness to develop and reach an agreed settlement.

"Although the outcome is not the result of a ruling of the Human Rights Review Tribunal, it is an important reminder that the policies of public bars must be consistent with the Human Rights Act.

"Although this is a settlement and not a Tribunal ruling it highlights the fact that discrimination on the basis of race is not just about the colour of one's skin but may also include important cultural markings."

"Rather than chasing up individual bars the Human Rights Commission will be in contact with the hospitality industry to discuss how bar owners and managers can be assisted to implement any necessary changes to ensure they comply with the Act," Mr de Bres says.

The bar owner also agreed to pay Ms Robin $3,000 compensation for the incident.

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