May 23, 2012
Boot-wearer wins bias caseB.C. Human Rights Tribunal awards nearly $2,000
By Jill Bennett, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - A man who went to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after he was told he couldn’t wear hiking boots to the gym has been awarded nearly $2,000 for his time and injured dignity.
Keith Wollenberg filed the complaint in April 2011 against the Platinum Athletic Club in Surrey.
In his claim, Wollenberg, stated his physiotherapist recommended he wear hiking boots while doing lunges to better support his ankles, because of an earlier tendon injury.
He said when he tried to wear the boots — described as a Mountain Equipment Co-op lace-up half-boot with a rigid rubber sole — the gym stated there was a no-boot policy in the gym dress code. Wollenberg then complained to the tribunal he was discriminated against on the basis of a physical disability.
In a ruling made last week, the tribunal awarded Wollenberg $916 for lost wages and parking costs incurred while he pursued his claim. He was further awarded $1,000 for injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect.
Despite requests from the tribunal, no one from the gym attended the hearing to plead its side of the case.
Wollenberg, who’s still a member at the gym, couldn’t be reached for comment. A spokesman for the gym declined comment.