A widely circulated video that shows a former Canadian Tire employee trying to kick a customer out of a Regina store —at times using force — has sparked debate about the issue of discrimination and customer rights.
Kamao Cappo said he was shopping for a chain saw when an employee accused him on stealing. Cappo refused to leave and their interaction with the employee grew heated.
CBC-Radio’s The Morning Edition recently spoke with Jeff Deagle, a partner at Hunter Deagle LLP, about what a customer’s rights are and what someone can do if they feel unfairly booted or followed around by store employees.
This interview has been edited for length, clarity and context.
When can an employee or a store manager ask a customer to leave the premises?
JD: Technically, anytime. When you enter a public, but private establishment you’re there at their permission. There’s sort of a social contract and at anytime they can ask you to leave and really, your rights are to leave.
For what reason can they ask you to leave?
JD: Really for any reason. The issue always becomes though, are there repercussions for the reasons they ask you to leave.
If the store says to be me, ‘We think you were going to steal.’ Well, if I’ve not left the store with anything is that OK, a suspicion that I might?
JD: No. Police have the power with a reasonable suspicion to detain people and investigate. Security officers are no different than an average citizen — they don’t have any extra rights than you or I do. In fact, the only time the citizen’s arrest provisions sort of kick is in if you’ve actually committed the crime.
They could only really detain him or anybody if the crime has actually been committed — they can’t do anything in advance of a crime that hasn’t been committed.
Do I have to leave even if that’s not proper, and then complain?
JD: Yes, that’s usually the typical way to do it ’cause once your invitation is revoked from being there, you have no right to be there. Because even though the commercial location is open to the public, it’s still private and they can revoke that invitation at any time.
What would I do after leaving the store if I thought they asked me to leave for an improper reason, like a crime I hadn’t committed, but they thought I looked likely to?
JD: Depends on the circumstances, but one of the most common ways would be likely to file a complaint with the human rights commission.
In this case, the customer also pulled out…