Morrissey House pub faces both backlash and support over 13% gender gap discount for women

The Morrissey House, a pub in London, Ont., is facing backlash after offering a discount aimed at women.

The discount is based on the gender wage gap: on Mondays, women get 13 per cent off their bill because they get paid less.

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“In Canada, the gender pay gap is 13 cents on the dollar. Not as bad as some other countries, but certainly not something that should even exist,” a blog post from The Morrissey House explained.

“We will be doing our little bit by offering a 13% discount to all women on food purchases- lunch or dinner, a different kind of ‘ladies’ night.”

The pub will also be donating part of their profits of the night to some local charities.

Challenging the Wage Gap: Canadian women still earn less than men

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Pub owner Mark Serre told Global News he decided to start up the discount on Mondays after shutting down a regular Monday night quiz night. Since he had had previous success with specials for International Women’s Day he thought he’d try a wage gap discount.

“It has also seemed, with the MeToo and TimesUp movements, that the time is now to have discussions like this,” Serre said.

“So the discount isn’t just about the pay gap, but about the greater issues at hand…but offering the discount was a simple offer and is has certainly started a conversation.”

The discount was announced on Jan. 6, but just three hours later, Serre received a complaint via email.

“If you can believe it, we have a complaint about our Monday discount. He will be lodging his complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I wish him all the best. If they see this as something that is against the concept of basic human rights, then I wish us all the best,” he wrote on Facebook.

Another complaint came in the form of a phone call.

“We did receive one very angry phone call this evening- and I am sorry that my staff had to deal with that. I knew there would be people who would not understand and hate it, but that is OK, there are a lot of restaurants in London!” he said.

But despite that, Serre said the first day of the promotion — which started on Monday — went “tremendously.”

“Today was our first day- and I think it was tremendous, a very positive response, even from the people who had no idea that it was happening.” he said.

Serre is an Ontario native, and has been running The Morrissey House since it opened in 2009.

Global News has contacted the OHRC but didn’t hear back by time of publication.

Previously, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has heard a case against a bar in London (the Barking Frog) filed in 2012 which offered a discount on a cover charge for women, A.K.A. Ladies Night.

READ MORE: Gender equality in Canada: Where do we stand today?

At the time, the complainant, Kyle MacLean argued that “by charging men twice what was being charged to women, the [bar] was perpetuating a belief in society than men are less worthy than women,” adjudicator Mark Hart wrote in his decision.

But the case was dismissed.

“There are many things that could be said about societal beliefs in Ontario, but the notion that men are less worthy than women is not among them,” he wrote.

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