When an elderly woman struggled to get the groceries into bags fast enough, the stored decided to do something about it. Instead of offering to help the elderly, disabled woman bag her groceries faster, the No Frills store banned her from their shop. Because her disability slowed her down, Linda Rolston felt what it meant to be discriminated against because of her voice prosthesis and the limited mobility in her shoulders and arms.
Because No Frills did not like that this customer was taking so long with her bagging groceries, they took action and banned Rolston from their shelves. Now she is fighting back. They said that they would let her come into the store so long as she brought someone else with her to bag the groceries with her.
When Rolston called to complain about the act of discrimination, Loblaw offered her a staggering $100 in compensation for what happened. Rolston lives in Alberta, Canada was told that she could only get the $100 if she kept quiet and did not file a lawsuit against the company.
“They can keep the $100. I’m going to tell anybody and continue with my human rights action,” Rolston said. She had her voice box removed in 2014 because she had cancer. The surgery left her unable to speak unless she had a prosthetic voice, which she does use sometimes.
Thankfully Rolston has support for her cause. David Lepofsky (pictured ab0ve) has become her biggest advocate. He is a prominent lawyer for people with disabilities and sees Rolston’s case as a typical one that favors the corporation over the average person.
He called the $100 a “microscopic Band-Aid which doesn’t fix the problem.”
He was outraged to learn that they offered such a meager compensation for their dastardly wrong action.
As the volunteer chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, he has seen a thing or two when it comes to Canadians getting discriminated against because of their disabilities. It is his life’s work to get them the support they need and crack down on the people who violate the law.
“It’s not going to change just by raising awareness,” he said. Action has to be taken as well. Laws need to be upheld.
Rolston loved shopping at the No Frills grocery store in Whitecourt, Alberta. The grocery chain is part of the Loblaw group of companies.
During her visits to the store, Rolston often resorted to “beg and plead” with staff to help her bag the groceries. They often denied her and told her they were too busy to help.
No Frills offers cheap prices but at a price of its own. They expect customers to bag their own groceries.
In January, Rolston complained to the franchise owner after she asked the employees for help with no success. When she returned, she learned her complaint was unheeded. It didn’t matter what she said, the store did not respect the elderly, disabled people.
Instead, the owner came over to her and told her not to come back unless she brought someone to pack her bags for her.
“I said, ‘Are you telling me because I am disabled I can’t shop here.’ And he said,’ Yes.’”
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