Human Rights complaint about Costco backpack search dismissed

Customer claims he was discriminated against on the basis of his sex

Ryan Morris launched a human rights complaint against Costco after an employee demanded to check inside his backpack on his way out when women carrying purses were not subjected to the same search.

But his complaint won’t be heard by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal because on June 6 Tribunal member Pamela Murray dismissed it, agreeing with Costco’s application to have her do so on the grounds the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success.

“I have decided to dismiss the complaint,” Murray declared. “While Mr. Morris clearly sincerely believes Costco targeted him because he was carrying a backpack and treated him differently that women leaving the store carrying purses, large or otherwise, I find he has no reasonable prospect of persuading the Tribunal at a hearing that his sex was a factor in any adverse impact on him.”

READ ALSO: White Rock Pride Society files human rights complaint against Star of the Sea Church

READ ALSO: Tenant claims landlord discriminated against her for smudging

Murray heard that twice in the summer of 2017, when Morris was leaving a Costco store, an employee asked him to open his backpack so she could look inside.

Morris said none of many women leaving the store on both occasions were similarly searched despite carrying large purses, and he was very embarrassed because other customers stared as him during these checks. He claims he was discriminated against on the basis of his sex.

Morris told the Tribunal it was the same employee who stopped him on two separate days – on June 14, 2017 and July 26, 2017 – and the second time this happened at least 15 women passed by, all carrying handbags and purses, without being searched.

He said he asked to see a manager, who he claims told him Costco has the right to search his bag but not purses.

“Costco says women carrying backpacks would have them inspected and there is nothing from Mr. Morris in the materials before me to suggest otherwise,” Murray noted in her reasons for decision. “In my view, this demonstrates in the circumstances the absence of a connection between Mr. Morris’ backpack being searched and his sex.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lord Tweedsmuir tops Tamanawis in all-cat fight for Surrey RCMP Classic title

Panthers’ Jaeden Reid was named MVP at all-Surrey boys tournament

Surrey students donate 2,000 pairs of socks

Initiative part of the Leo Club program

Surrey hosts grand-opening ceremony of North Surrey arena complex

‘Accessible’ facility features three sheets of ice

Trade to hometown team a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Surrey Eagles defenceman

Kieran O’Hearn gets to play in front of family, who live just minutes from South Surrey Arena

White Rock solid waste open house scheduled

Event to take place next month

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read