Skip to content

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.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks