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Sobeys appeals human rights decision made in Nova Scotia

Empire, which owns Sobeys and Safeway, said Thursday it's eliminating warehouse and back-office jobs.
Sobeys is appealing a human rights decision made in Halifax last week. CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – Sobeys is appealing a human rights decision against the grocery store chain in Nova Scotia.

Last week, a board of inquiry with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission found that staff at a Halifax-area Sobeys racially discriminated against a customer after falsely accusing her of shoplifting.

In documents filed with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Sobeys says inquiry chair Marion Hill allowed a breach of the rules of procedural fairness.

The document also says Hill made arbitrary rulings against the company on evidentiary issues, and didn’t give Sobeys a fair opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses.

In May 2009, Andrella David was accused by an employee at the Sobeys in Tantallon of being a known shoplifter.

The board’s decision says there was no indication that David, a black woman, had attempted to steal from the store.

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Hill wrote that racial profiling was a factor in the decision to confront David, who was discriminated against based on her skin colour and her perceived source of income.

Hill said the identification of David as a known shoplifter was not justified.

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