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Mask refusal = complaint dismissed by BCHRT

February 14, 2022

In a new decision this year (2022 BCHRT 22), the BC Human Rights Tribunal dismissed another complaint made by a person refusing to wear a mask. 

The customer attended at the business in October 2020 for an appointment and spoke with a screening employee at the front door. The screener asked the customer to wear a mask but she refused. The customer said she was concerned about the ingredients in the masks. The screener provided a box of the masks for her to review the ingredients. The customer then refused to wear a mask and chose to leave. She did not claim to have any disability that prevented her from wearing a mask.

The customer made a complaint to the Tribunal alleging that she was refused a service because her mental disability prevented her from wearing a mask. 

When she filed her complaint, the customer alleged she had anxiety. She provided a medical note which she relied upon to allege that her anxiety exempted her from wearing a mask. The medical note was dated after the date of her attendance at the business. The medical note was also generic in that it listed several conditions that may warrant consideration of a mask exemption for any patient. The word “patient” was crossed out and the customer’s name was handwritten in on the form. Anxiety was not listed as a condition on the note. 

The business applied to have the complaint dismissed. The Tribunal accepted that the customer’s complaint had no reasonable prospect of success. The customer would not be able to establish she had a disability that prevented her from wearing a mask.     

The Tribunal dismissed the customer’s complaint.

Note to Employers

Employers are obligated to accommodate their employees and customers who are unable to wear a mask for legitimate medical reasons. They are not required to accommodate people who refuse to wear a mask because they don’t want to wear one. 

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Important Notice: The information contained in this Article is intended for general information purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship. It is not intended as legal advice from Harper Grey LLP or the individual author(s), nor intended as a substitute for legal advice on any specific subject matter. Detailed legal counsel should be sought prior to undertaking any legal matter. The information contained in this Article is current to the last update and may change. Last Update: February 14, 2022.

©Harper Grey LLP 2022

 

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