By G9ija

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has cleared the Harzoyka Restaurant in Lagos of an allegation of gender based discrimination.

It said its investigation of a complaint by a would-be customer showed that Harzoyka Restaurant’s denial of access to the lone female visitor, was neither discriminatory, nor had nothing to do with her gender.

It stated this in a statement by FCCPC Director-General Mr. Babatunde Irukera.

It said: “ The Commission on Sunday, November 8, 2020 received credible information, and subsequently a complaint ref: FCCPC/DSE/32849 at approximately 11:00 P.M.

“The subject of the information and complaint was that a regular patron at Harzoyka Restaurant, No. 71B, Oduduwa Crescent, Ikeja Lagos was denied entry at approximately 3:50pm on Sunday November 8, 2020. The reason for denial of entry to the restaurant was that she was female, and, unaccompanied by a male companion.

“Between the restaurant’s opening time of 11am and 1:30pm on Monday, November 9, the Commission conducted surveillance and monitoring at the location, including attempted patronage by an undercover lone female operative of the Commission.

“The operative was only engaged to ensure proper face covering to gain access, and there were other lone female patrons in the restaurant.”

FCCPC explained that its further investigations included engaging security, service personnel and senior management of the restaurant.

It said: “The proprietor admits that approximately 30 days ago, it implemented a new access control policy to promote social distancing in accordance with prevailing COVID-19 management protocols, but denies such policy was targeted at, or to deny access to lone female patrons.

“The Commission notes that Harzoyka Restaurant failed to provide appropriate sensitivity training; and exercise sufficient oversight with respect to security operatives who enforce access control policies and efforts (including clear and timely escalation of customer dissatisfaction to management). As such, it is highly probable that this failure led to the unresolved discriminatory incident.

‘The Commission is issuing a Compliance Notice pursuant to Section 150, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, and the undertaking in question shall remain under supervision for a limited period to ensure adequate training and oversight regarding illegal or prohibited parameters for denying access; and proper customer engagement and complaint resolution.

“The Commission rejects any discrimination or stereotyping on account of race, gender, social class or any other protected ground, and will subject any perpetrators to the fullest weight of the law. The Commission commends the complainant, and invites the public to call out conducts and practices by businesses that violate the rights of citizens”.