Masking is mandatory for people to access shopping stores nearly everywhere since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. From this directive, many retailers have put regulations to ensure only customers with masks enter their shops.
These regulations comprise exemptions for people with disabilities unable to mask. But still, not every store masking rules consist of these exemptions.
Nevertheless, failure to mask due to medical reasons raises concerns about applying strong ethics of human rights law to the retail industry.
Accommodation A Mutual Duty
Many human rights principles were for employment; for instance, it is the employer’s duty to accommodate employees to the point of excessive hardship.
In such situations, the workers have the right to privacy which involves not disclosing their medical diagnosis to create their occupational limits. Usually, how much information you let out as a worker will depend on the circumstances. However, it involves medical records from a professional that validates and clarifies these confines.
Both the employer and employee have a joint responsibility before agreeing on suitable accommodation. Accommodation is hugely optional, and parties need to be creative when looking into different accommodation measures.
Usually, this occurs in a setting where the employer and employee have an existing relationship despite the apparent misfit. However, a retail situation is exceptional to such relationships hence doctrines of principles are a mismatch.
For instance, there was a case at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal where a claimant purported that he experienced discrimination at several local businesses because of the city’s masking law. The law directs groups to come up with a rule initiating mask-wearing with exceptions for people with an existing medical condition. Still, the policy stated that nobody should provide proof of such a condition.
Proof or Not
Still, how much information a customer needs to give to retailers was also related to a current case in British Columbia. In this case, a person could not enter a store for failing to wear a mask. This was after identifying the security guard of their medical condition.
Because the petitioner failed to offer details to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal about their apparent frailty, the claim baseless, from this, the tribunal stated that they would not protect anyone who refused to wear masks without proving their conditions.
Exemptions Lead to Abuse
The need to validate mask-exemption privileges in the retail sector is sincere, significantly as the pandemic aggravates. Still, the masking issue has become a bed for politics and only claiming immunity can be ripe for abuse.
Subsequently, Costco changed its masking rule in November by eliminating medically established exceptions as a possible response. As a result, more retailers joined the bandwagon. Removing anomalies has become debatable, and it’s uncertain whether it’s legal.
Costco and Indigo identify options for in-store shopping for people who cannot mask. These consist of shopping online and curbside pickup.
Other accommodation measures without exemptions are not perfect for some. A different accommodation rule states that people have a right to suitable accommodation, not essentially their desired accommodation.