You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 10, 2016, 06:45:21 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Oregon bar owner fined $400,000 for discriminating against transgender customers  (Read 6947 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Or the feared monthy visitor needs.

That was what I was referring to by 'no possibility that the offender wasn't a bio-female.' 

Blythe, I used to follow a LiveJournal called 'customerssuck'.  All I have to say about the tiny-text is 'exactly' and 'fitting rooms'.

The point I was trying to make is that citing 'bathroom issues' as a reason for the ban is not necessarily discrimination, if it is applied across the board, and if that was a complaint people were making.  (And no, leaving the seat up is not a 'bathroom issue'.  Frequently, I've been in a restroom where the cleaning staff has just gone through, and the seats were up so that they could reach the bits under the rim better.)

Offline Blythe

Blythe, I used to follow a LiveJournal called 'customerssuck'.  All I have to say about the tiny-text is 'exactly' and 'fitting rooms'.

The point I was trying to make is that citing 'bathroom issues' as a reason for the ban is not necessarily discrimination, if it is applied across the board, and if that was a complaint people were making.  (And no, leaving the seat up is not a 'bathroom issue'.  Frequently, I've been in a restroom where the cleaning staff has just gone through, and the seats were up so that they could reach the bits under the rim better.)

*carefully goes and finds that LiveJournal*

But hmmm, yes, I can agree with your point, Oniya. *nodnod* I may have missed the nature of the bathroom complaints (been shifting through a lot of info in this thread and with sources here). If the nature of the complaint was just leaving the seat up, then I can agree, that's not really a "bathroom issue."

But yeah, should be applied across the board. And in the case of the T-girls discussed in this topic, their gender status should have had nothing to do with it. If it was a ban about the bathroom, all Penner should have done was ban each offender as an individual based on their bathroom issues using a standard that applied to every customer fairly.

EDIT: Added that second paragraph for clarity's sake. Was somewhat in danger of initially contradicting myself.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 03:36:22 PM by Blythe »

Offline mia h

If it was a ban about the bathroom, all Penner should have done was ban each offender as an individual based on their bathroom issues using a standard that applied to every customer fairly.

While it sounds a reasonable solution how would you actually implement it?  How do you know exactly who the offenders are?
You can't put cameras in to monitor what's going on because would cause a whole other set of legal issues, and is it reasonable to expect the business to employ some kind of bathroom monitor to inspect the place after each person comes out?
If a particular group of people is repeatedly causing problems and it's not all of that group but just a portion that you can't identify then isn't most pragmatic solution to ban the entire group?
And while Penner might screwed the pooch in it's execution it seems possible that he wasn't banning transgendered customers he was banning customers who were transgendered.

According to the court documents the Friday night revenues went down to about 80k. So the total fines amount to about a month worth of Friday night revenues when the business was doing poorly. So perhaps 400k isn't necessarily an exuberant amount.
That's 80k revenue not 80k profit, obviously I have no idea what the costs but assume for a second that for 6 days a week the bar breaks even but on Fridays it makes 20% profit so 16K profit which would be 6 1/2 months worth of profit.

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Many places have security cameras outside of restrooms.  Combine that with a sign inside saying 'If the restroom facilities were lacking in any way, please notify the manager' (often used to report clogged toilets, lack of paper towels/toilet paper/hand soap), and that's pretty much all you need.  Customer complains, the incident gets noted (and attended to) and the security tapes can be cued up to the appropriate time stamp to see who goes in and out.

Offline lilhobbit37

And one of the complaints mentioned was that they were leaving stall doors open while they were using the restroom. I don't care if you are a male, female, or transgender. If I entered a public restroom and walked by a stall where someone was publically taking a piss, I'd be uncomfortable. The fact that the individual might also be biologically male would make me even more uncomfortable and I would not be likely to return to that establishment because of that incident, not because I have a problem with transgendered people but because that would put me in a situation I did not want to be in.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 02:30:03 PM by lilhobbit37 »

Offline Florence

And one of the complaints mentioned was that they were leaving stall doors open while they were using the restroom. I don't care if you are a male, female, or transgender. If I entered a public restroom and walked by a stall where someone was publically taking a piss, I'd be uncomfortable. The fact that the individual might also be biologically male would make me even more uncomfortable and I would not be likely to return to that establishment because of that incident, not because I have a problem with transgendered people but because that would put me in a situation I did not want to be in.

Of course, it comes back to the fact that these, in and of themselves, are valid reasons to ask them to leave. People thinking it was turning into a tranny or gay bar is not.

Offline Blythe

And one of the complaints mentioned was that they were leaving stall doors open while they were using the restroom. I don't care if you are a male, female, or transgender. If I entered a public restroom and walked by a stall where someone was publically taking a piss, I'd be uncomfortable. The fact that the individual might also be biologically male would make me even more uncomfortable and I would not be likely to return to that establishment because of that incident, not because I have a problem with transgendered people but because that would put me in a situation I did not want to be in.

I can get behind your reasoning. I would also be uncomfortable at someone taking a public piss, regardless of gender orientation. And if Penner had just asked them to leave based on that instead, I would have supported that, because it would have had nothing to do with the T-girls being transgender, just being really rude. Rudeness is something that anyone can be guilty of.

Its a shame Penner put his foot in his mouth, though. It looks like he might have had a legitimate reason to ask them to leave that would have had nothing to do with their transgender status, and he still chose to focus on that status. *sigh* Boggles my mind, that does.

Of course, it comes back to the fact that these, in and of themselves, are valid reasons to ask them to leave. People thinking it was turning into a tranny or gay bar is not.

You keep ninja'ing me with things I agree with. *laughs*
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 03:12:25 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Sorry, Blythe, I want to come back to something you said earlier.  To refresh your memory:

Quote
What - hypothetically - if it had been?  If he could produce any piece of evidence you could dream of that this group were driving other customers away by their very presence.

Would you agree with his action then?

*cough*

Er....no. No, I would not agree, as I still believe he was wrong to ask a group to leave based on his biased perception of their gender orientation.

And to me, that applies to any and all groups.


(I've snipped bits for space.  Original exchange is here)

I think this is the crux of my problem with the situation and I just wanted to expand it a little.

These girls were out having a drink, socialising and supporting each other.  A right everyone has, certainly.  Penner, in my hypothetical, was running a bar which was going out of business.  You feel that these girl's right to drink with their friends overrides Penner's right to run his business?  What I'm getting at is that what they were doing wasn't overly important in the grand scheme, and frankly could have been done anywhere.  Penner was supporting himself, possibly a family (not sure, not seen one mentioned), paying bills, etc.  But you feel that his right to do that is less important?  Am I understanding you right?

As I say, I think this is the problem I have here.  In case its not obvious, I don't.

Offline Blythe

Sorry, Blythe, I want to come back to something you said earlier.  To refresh your memory:

(I've snipped bits for space.  Original exchange is here)

I think this is the crux of my problem with the situation and I just wanted to expand it a little.

These girls were out having a drink, socialising and supporting each other.  A right everyone has, certainly.  Penner, in my hypothetical, was running a bar which was going out of business.  You feel that these girl's right to drink with their friends overrides Penner's right to run his business?  What I'm getting at is that what they were doing wasn't overly important in the grand scheme, and frankly could have been done anywhere.  Penner was supporting himself, possibly a family (not sure, not seen one mentioned), paying bills, etc.  But you feel that his right to do that is less important?  Am I understanding you right?

As I say, I think this is the problem I have here.  In case its not obvious, I don't.

Penner has a right to run his business within the confines of the law. His bar going out of business is not the fault of these girls' being transgender, and he made it seem that way. He may ask the girls to leave if they are doing something other than existing that is ruining his business, and that would be within his rights. But yes, the girls have a right to drink where they want, so long as their behavior is appropriate. When/if the behavior is out of line is when Penner is within his rights as a business owner to ask them to leave based on their behavior and nothing else.

What they are doing is important in the grand scheme, because just existing and supporting his bar with their business is not a problem. The T-girls should not be penalized by Penner for lack of business (by being asked to leave/being banned); that is not their fault. They cannot be held accountable for his other customers leaving just by existing. They should only be held accountable for actions they actually committed..... which has nothing to do with them being transgender.

Your argument relies on punishing the T-girls by forcing them to leave a business for doing nothing wrong, in my opinion. And that would be wrong no matter what group it involved.

EDIT: Keep in mind, that doesn't mean I don't feel bad for Penner. I understand he has a livelihood and a family to support. But penalizing customers that he was trying to attract to his business (which was known for being LGBT friendly with it's gay dance night, gay fame night, and trans* fame night) is an exceedingly foolish and wrong thing to do, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 06:13:42 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Your argument relies on punishing the T-girls by forcing them to leave a business for doing nothing wrong, in my opinion. And that would be wrong no matter what group it involved.

It does, yes.  To an extent, at least.  But it seems to me yours relies on punishing a business (far more severely, as well, which is the crucial point) that has done nothing wrong.

But meh.  As I say, that was my major problem and it seems like we're not going to agree on it.  Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, though.  Enjoyed our conversation.

Offline Blythe

It does, yes.  To an extent, at least.  But it seems to me yours relies on punishing a business (far more severely, as well, which is the crucial point) that has done nothing wrong.

But meh.  As I say, that was my major problem and it seems like we're not going to agree on it.  Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, though.  Enjoyed our conversation.

I can agree to disagree; I see where you are coming from--I am arguing more from a civil rights stance, and you are arguing for the rights of businessmen (both sides of which have merit to some degree). Thank you for debating with me, Kythia. I really appreciate it.

EDIT: (Remember that I did mention several times in this thread that I thought the fine was excessive, so I do think the punishment is a bit severe, that the point could have been gotten across for a smaller amount of money and still make the point about civil rights on behalf of the T-girls)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 06:22:26 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
I can agree to disagree; I see where you are coming from--I am arguing more from a civil rights stance, and you are arguing for the rights of businessmen (both sides of which have merit to some degree). Thank you for debating with me, Kythia. I really appreciate it.

EDIT: (Remember that I did mention several times in this thread that I thought the fine was excessive, so I do think the punishment is a bit severe, that the point could have been gotten across for a smaller amount of money and still make the point about civil rights on behalf of the T-girls)

Ha, can't seem to leave this alone.  It's not quite the rights of businessmen per se.  Its a weighing up of the harm done to either side.  My view is that the bar and bar owner in my hypothetical is harmed far more by the situation continuing than the girls are by being booted. 

I wish I had the willpower to not have typed that.  I'm weak, Blythe, weak. 

Offline Blythe

Ha, can't seem to leave this alone.  It's not quite the rights of businessmen per se.  Its a weighing up of the harm done to either side.  My view is that the bar and bar owner in my hypothetical is harmed far more by the situation continuing than the girls are by being booted. 

I wish I had the willpower to not have typed that.  I'm weak, Blythe, weak.

Except him booting the T-girls sets a bad precedent for every single transgender person who wants to frequent a business in Oregon. I feel that in my hypothetical, a victory for Penner would have set a legal precedent for business owners to discriminate against transgender individuals in Oregon. So I feel that transgender people in Oregon would have been far more harmed by a victory from Penner than Penner and his bar are harmed by his loss.

*cough*

Dang it, Kythia. I'm weak, too.  :'( *headdesks* As I said, I think we are agreeing to disagree, which I'm okay with. I can understand how you came to your reasoning--I just don't agree.  :-\
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 06:32:06 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Yes but what about....

Nah, Im just messing with you.  Thanks for talking to me, and yeah, agree to disagree sounds best.  I can see your argument and its a solid one, just not one I agree with.

Here - as a thank you for talking to me have a creepy looking doll:



First hit on a google image search for "Blythe"

Offline Blythe

Oh gods that doll.

*flees in terror*

Offline Rogue

  • The Bratling ~ her Mx ~ they/them unless other pronouns/gender are specified please~
  • Champion
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Location: delens solem lunam facti sunt ei
  • ~Edenmon Master~ ~GenderFluid~
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Just want to say... I love it when you two debate. :)

My opinion: Owner was a dumbass. Chose to say it was because they were trans and not because of the behavior they were exhibiting. On a more important level, he may even believe it's because they were trans and the behavior was linking to this.... Which is still stupid, but leans a lot more towards the discriminating bit.

The girls already said that they'd be happy to have this case continue as long as possible, even if it meant not getting money. Simply because they want the coverage for Trans rights. :)

Owner is going to suffer for his dumbass behavior, even if he doesn't end up paying the fines/damages. He's going to be boycotted by a large number of people who may have otherwise dropped by. This is ridiculously bad press. Business is going to die, regardless of the money he pays.

My opinion. Unfortunately, not as eloquent as I'd like but I'm tired and just spent like an hour reading everything. :D

Offline Sethala

Apologies for bringing this topic up again, but I have a couple thoughts of my own...

First off, the size of the group.  Now, full disclosure, I'm in a small town in the middle of nowhere.  But when I read some of the quotes saying that the group was sometimes as big as fifty people, my mind just boggles.  In pretty much every restaurant here, a fifty person group would mean closing up shop to everyone not part of that group, and possibly only fitting half of the group at a time, for the smaller ones.  If he's used to getting large groups of people that order some of the pricier drinks, and now suddenly has his bar full of this group where most only order a few beers, and the customers that usually spend more money don't come in simply because it's too crowded, business is going to tank - hard - while the group is doing nothing offensive but not spend enough money on drinks.  Even some of the larger places I've been to in Minneapolis, a fifty-person group would make the place severely crowded on an otherwise-normal Friday evening.

And how do you fix that, exactly?  Do you add a minimum price someone has to pay before they can stay in the bar?  Do you just talk to the main members of the group and tell them "sorry, you guys don't spend enough money here, so you need to go"? 

Now, I realize that fifty was the larger end of the group, but it looks like it's not just this one small group of people that comes in and acts offensive, it's a large group that may be acting offensively, especially if they outnumber all the other customers in the bar and act as if it's "their" bar.  Now yes, he shouldn't have said anything about them being "trans*" causing it, but it's not unlikely for someone talking about it to slip up.  Especially if this may not have been the only time he tried to talk to the group, he may have been exhausted (or just frustrated) enough to not choose his words carefully.

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
I've seen a lot of bars that have a 'cover charge'.

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Quote from: Sethala
Especially if this may not have been the only time he tried to talk to the group, he may have been exhausted (or just frustrated) enough to not choose his words carefully.

     Leaving a message that he doesn't want it to become thought of as a "tranny" or "gay" bar is not just being careless.  It's actively saying he's aware of a certain kind of negative stigma that can be attached to a group and he thinks it's in his interest to either submit or subscribe to the part of society that pushes that stigma.  Maybe he's rather careless not to know that this could be illegal.

      If he wants to set minimum spending to gain predictable income, then I suppose yes that's a cover charge and he can notify everyone of that publicly, not just call one group directly and privately specifically to discourage them.  Or perhaps provide more features and events that attract (or require, if legal) more the type of money he wants.

     
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 03:34:02 AM by kylie »

Offline Sethala

I've seen a lot of bars that have a 'cover charge'.

Oh yeah, I forgot some places do that.  Don't have any bars like that anywhere near where I live, to be honest.  That might have fixed things, though that might have pushed out his other customers as well.

     Leaving a message that he doesn't want it to become thought of as a "tranny" or "gay" bar is not just not being careless.  It's actively saying he's aware of a certain kind of negative stigma that can be attached to a group and he thinks it's in his interest to either submit or subscribe to the part of society that pushes that stigma.  Maybe he's rather careless not to know that this could be illegal.

      If he wants to set minimum spending to gain predictable income, then I suppose yes that's a cover charge and he can notify everyone of that publicly, not just call one group directly and privately specifically to discourage them.  Or perhaps provide more features and events that attract (or require, if legal) more the type of money he wants.

Yeah, you're probably right.  I just don't like the thought of him being fined enough to possibly shut down his business for good; it reeks of a "if I can't have it no one can" mentality on the part of the T-girls.

Anyway, I'll say that I really don't know anywhere near enough about bars and such to add much more to the topic, so I'll bow out and lurk for now.

Offline DarklingAlice

Yeah, you're probably right.  I just don't like the thought of him being fined enough to possibly shut down his business for good; it reeks of a "if I can't have it no one can" mentality on the part of the T-girls.

Yeah...that's kind of how a discrimination free, egalitarian society works. If everyone doesn't have it, then no one does.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Yeah...that's kind of how a discrimination free, egalitarian society works. If everyone doesn't have it, then no one does.

The tricky spot with that position is: while you could argue that it's the right of any grown-up in a country like the U.S. to drink out on the town (in general, as in "I'm free, white and twenty-one!") it's not an absolute right for any citizens to be allowed to drink with your gang in a specific bar. Or even to be allowed into any given bar. The owner (and the bouncer he's hired, if there is one) has the final say on who gets in.

In this case the owner told those t-girls they were not welcome anymore, at least not as a group, and he referred to them by their sexual orientation. What else was he supposed to have done to make it clear what particular circle of people he wished to restrict a bit? Calling every one of them by phone wouldn't have been practical, a bar owner almost never knows the phone numbers or personal whereabouts of even his recurrent customers. I think it's plain the article in the HP has selected away a good deal of what happened up to the point when he banned them, to drive their own spin, and that's not so uncommon for media outlets today. It's a long, long time since you could say "It's got to be true and accurate because I read it in the newspaper"

If the bar owner wanted to turn a faltering business around, and thought the t-girls and the people they brought along had made the place seem unwelcoming to other guests, then it's not an idea that would have popped into his head overnight. Most likely it's something he saw happening slowly over some time, and likely with a number of "brand damage factors" which he linked to this particular bunch of guests. I'm sorry but he has every right to protect his business. Put bluntly, some of his language in explaining what he did may have been sexist, but the actions themselves were not.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 10:05:22 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline DarklingAlice

It is the right of the proprietor of any business to refuse service to any individual or even an organization. However, they do not a right to blanketly discriminate against an entire class of people. We've been there, done that, and decided that it's a bad idea. And since not everyone can see the wisdom of that, we have a legal system to help things along. This is why you see significantly fewer "No Colored Allowed" signs around these days.

What disturbs me most is that I doubt this would be in any kind of question were this another minority group.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Belonging to a particular group, which happens to be a minority group and sometimes (not always) an informally repressed group, does *not* set you free from the need to behave responsibly, sensibly and without pushing others into the corners. I'd agree with Sethala that the story reeks of an "If it can't be mine then nobody can have it" attitude.

The difference between open, legallly sanctioned discrimination and spotty, informal bans is vital too. In the old south up to the sixties, or in South Africa before 1991, signs like "Whites Only" and segregated workplaces and schools were everywhere and they were upheld by law. If a bar owner, or a couple of them, decide to ban people from the local trans person (or LGBT) community, that isn't anywhere near the same as full-on segregation. And in this case, the real reason doesn't seem to have been their being trans, but that they made a nuisance of themselves and discouraged other customers.

Offline Sethala

Quote
What disturbs me most is that I doubt this would be in any kind of question were this another minority group.

I think that's because LGBT is the only minority group that has a bar culture surrounding it.  (I say that as in, I hear about "gay bars" or "trans bars" a lot but I pretty much never hear of "black bars" or "asian bars" - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, as my hometown is too small to have any real "bar culture" to speak of.)

It is the right of the proprietor of any business to refuse service to any individual or even an organization. However, they do not a right to blanketly discriminate against an entire class of people. We've been there, done that, and decided that it's a bad idea. And since not everyone can see the wisdom of that, we have a legal system to help things along. This is why you see significantly fewer "No Colored Allowed" signs around these days.

As far as I can tell from the article and the conversation here, the owner has banned "a specific set of people that are trans", not "all trans people".  If it was the latter, I would agree with you, 100%.  But I think that's where the disconnect lies, to be honest.  I suppose the question is, if a random trans person that wasn't a part of the group decided to go to the bar after the group was banned, would there be any problems?  If that random person would still be banned from the bar, or be harassed by the owner and staff, then I agree, there's a problem.  But if he would be able to go in, have a drink, chat with some people, and have a generally good time?  Much less of a "discrimination" case here, in my opinion.