An Oregon appeals court on Wednesday upheld an agency's ruling against a bar owner who refused to serve a group of transgender and gay customers.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2013 ruled against Christopher Penner, saying that he had violated the state's law prohibiting businesses from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In two voice mails to the Rose City T-Girls, a Portland social club, Penner told the group's members not to return to his bar, The P Club (later renamed The Twilight Room Annex). Penner said that their presence was damaging his business.

Penner paid $400,000 in damages and closed The P Club last year, according to Reuters.

After Wednesday's ruling, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian praised the decision in a written statement.

“Our agency is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Oregonians so that people are not denied employment, housing or access to public places based on who they are or who they love,” Avakian said.

Penner's lawyer said that his client never intended to discriminate.