adamson bbq

Adamson BBQ ordered to pay damages for discriminating against a disabled customer

A discrimination case has been added to Adam Skelly's long list of legal woes, with a customer at one of his Adamson BBQ restaurants successfully proving to the Human Rights Tribunal that they were refused service on the basis of their disability.

The applicant alleged that they were hassled when they tried to park in a no parking zone, as is permitted by their accessible parking permit, and told by an employee that they would not be served if they did not move their vehicle first.

The employee then was said to have retrieved Skelly, who when informed that the customer had a legal right to park in the location, allegedly said in front of a long line of patrons "I don't care. I can refuse service to anyone I choose to."

"It is frustrating enough to deal with mobility issues, without having to endure the disrespect and blatant disregard for the law that was exhibited that day," the applicant stated in their case — and the adjudicator agreed.

"I agree that the respondent's owner and employee behaved in a way that was disrespectful in front of the restaurant’s customers. The applicant was forced to explain his needs in front of a busy restaurant, and the owner did not even step out from behind the counter or stop his work to address the applicant," they wrote.

"No attempts to accommodate or even understand the applicant's code-related entitlements were made... The owner and his employees have an obligation to familiarize themselves with the code and to abide by it in their dealings with customers."

Adamson BBQ was ordered to pay $2,000 in compensation "for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect" as a result of the incident, which took place back in 2017.

After opening his Etobicoke outpost last November for maskless indoor and outdoor dining in deliberate defiance of provincial lockdown rules at the time, Skelly was arrested and faced multiple charges under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and was later found to also be operating without a business license.

He also racked up a $187k invoice for the police presence sent to his restaurant to deal with the drama, which lasted multiple days.

His Aurora location was then permanently shuttered last month for non-payment of nearly $50k in rent while Skelly was dealing with the legal challenge he launched against the province claiming that the government unconstitutionally forced businesses to close during the health crisis.

"In its response to the Covid-19 virus, the Governments (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) have invoked extraordinary executive powers predicated on unsubstantiated scientific and legal grounds with catastrophic consequences to people in Ontario, Canada and indeed throughout the world," his legal team claimed.

The buzzed-about case was eventually thrown out due to some problems with the documentation submitted, though Skelly has vowed to take the case through the Court of Appeal and potentially further, up to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

He also appears to be launching some sort of litigation against Toronto's UHN, ostensibly due to its new vaccination policy for staff.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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