Canadian company faces claims of ageism
Seven women, aged 62 to 78, have recently filed a human rights complaint against Canada’s largest product demonstration company.
The women claim they lost their jobs as supermarket product demonstrators for InStore Focus for not looking like “soccer moms”.
The women – based in London – depended on their part-time jobs as “brand ambassadors” with the product sampling giant.
They are now seeking $25,000 each in damages for “insult to dignity” and a combined $38,000 in lost wages.
The women worked an average of 14 to 28 hours a week but their hours were cut to zero between last summer and autumn because of an alleged downturn in business.
At the same time, however, InStore was advertising for 12 new brand ambassadors.
Lone Thompson, 64, had worked for InStore Focus for 15 years. She was told that the company wanted “someone who represents the Mom who does most of the shopping.”
Beth Walden, a lawyer with Human Rights Legal Support Centre, who is representing the women said:
“People can believe that their age has something to do with (the loss of a job), but it can be hard to get the evidence. Here it’s very clear.
“This case highlights how vulnerable older workers are and older women in particular.”