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B.C. Human Rights Tribunal tosses grocery store mask complaint

A disability claim from a woman who was refused entry to a market without a mask and instead wore a face shield she got from her car has been dismissed
2020-08-07 Maker North face shield
Wearing your own face shield to go grocery shopping after refusing to wear a mask won't fly as a human rights complaint. Maker North face shield. (Image: Supplied)

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a woman’s complaint about having to wear a face mask in a store, ruling it was based on the inconvenience of having to mask up.

Susan Adams filed a complaint against The Old Farm Market, a Vancouver Island chain, alleging it discriminated against her in the area of a service on the ground of physical disability.

In a Feb. 1 decision, tribunal chair Emily Ohler said Adams asserted the market initially denied her access because she said she could not wear a face mask.

Ohler said Adams said she had a disability and asked an employee if he could bring her goods out to her, but he refused. Then, Adams went to her car, got a face shield, and was allowed to enter the store to do her shopping.

“She has not denied that she was permitted to shop wearing a face shield,” Ohler said.

The market and owner Lorne Campbell applied to have the case dismissed.

To succeed in a complaint, Adams would need to establish she has a disability, that the respondents treated her adversely and that the adverse treatment was connected to her disability, Ohler said.

“There is no evidence to show that wearing a face shield constituted anything other than an inconvenience for Ms. Adams,” Ohler said.

Ohler said the store would be able to establish it had made a reasonable accommodation for Adams in allowing her to wear a face shield.

“Ms. Adams went to the Market to shop — she entered the market and did her shopping,” Ohler said.

The decision does not say what disability Adams said she had.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

twitter.com/jhainswo

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