Lone Thompson, 64, had worked for InStore Focus for 15 years. Thompson sought an explanation after being told verbally that she no longer fit the profile. Her area manager said it was because InStore Focus clients wanted soccer moms instead. In an e-mail to Thompson, the area manager elaborated on her comment, writing "they want someone who represents the Mom who does most of the shopping."
"After 15 years you just get discarded," said Thompson. "My worst fears were confirmed when I learned that at least 6 other women over 60 were told there were no more hours," added Thompson.
Although In-Store focus claimed in writing that there were no shifts as a result of a "downturn in business," they posted 12 vacancies for the positions soon after the women were advised there were no available assignments. According to the company's web site, InStore Focus handles more than 100,000 product demonstrations per year.
The group of women has filed human rights applications against their former employer.
Beth Walden, a lawyer with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, is representing the seven applicants. Walden commented,
"This is one of the more blatant cases of age discrimination we have handled. Ontario's Human Rights Code protects workers from being fired or not getting a job because of age."