Non-Binary Gambler Loses Human Rights Case on Restroom Use


Posted on: February 6, 2023, 06:51h. 

Last updated on: February 6, 2023, 06:51h.

A Canadian gambler who identifies as non-binary took on a casino operator at a human rights tribunal over a dispute about bathrooms and lost. That’s according to Castanet, a British Columbia news portal.

Gateway casinos
Iversen claimed Gateway Casino staff asked them to leave for using the women’s restroom, which the casino denied. (Image: Vecteezy)

Christopher Iversen was playing slots at 5:30 am at an unnamed Gateway Casinos property when nature called, according to filings to the BC Human Rights Tribunal in Vancouver.

Finding the men’s bathroom closed, Iversen used the women’s. Iversen then said they were approached by casino security who asked to see their identification. Iversen was then told “according to your identification you are not female” and was accused of using the “wrong washroom.”

Iversen reported in tribunal filings that they felt “ridiculed” and “belittled.” That’s after the casino manager informed them that “anyone who is transgendered must report to the customer service desk at the entrance to ‘check in’ to use the ‘other’ washroom.”

The casino then asked them to leave, according to Iverson.

Divergent Accounts

But Gateway’s version of events differed wildly, as the tribunal noted. The company, which operates 23 casinos in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, denies it ever asked Iversen to leave.

Gateway claimed it asked Iversen to move the conversation to the casino lobby after Iversen became “angry and agitated” when security queried their use of the women’s washroom. Staff also informed them that a single, non-gendered washroom was available.

But Iversen threatened to sue the casino and inform the media, claiming Iversen knew high-ranking government officials and would “get rich” from the situation, according to Gateway’s account.

Far from being thrown out, Iversen remained writing notes and taking selfies for up to 15 minutes before finally leaving of their own accord, the operator claimed.

Iversen sent a letter of complaint to the casino 11 months later. The casino manager replied, apologized, adding that discriminatory behavior was not condoned at the establishment. The two parties then entered mediation, which failed.

$7K Settlement Rejected

When Iversen escalated the case to the human rights tribunal, the casino offered a $7,000 settlement, promised to update its policy and training, and to issue Iversen a letter of apology.

But Iversen rejected this, declaring the case to be “groundbreaking.” He said unless it was heard by the tribunal, other businesses would be able to do the same.

The tribunal disagreed, determining that the case involved a “single, relatively brief incident” which was without “identity-related insults, violence, or harassment.”

“The non-monetary remedies demonstrate that Gateway took the complainants allegations seriously and reflect an intention to avoid future events,” the tribunal panel wrote.

The $7,000, which the panel described as “reasonable” remains on the table.

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