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Sobeys likely to withdraw appeal of discrimination decision, facing boycott

Company expects to finalize a resolution

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One of Canada’s largest grocery store chains says it intends to withdraw an appeal of a human rights decision that found a Sobeys employee discriminated against a black customer—but a group of 19 churches in Nova Scotia says the move doesn’t go far enough.

A Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission inquiry determined last year that staff at a store in Tantallon, N.S., discriminated against Andrella David in May 2009 after falsely accusing her of being a repeat shoplifter.

Sobeys appealed that decision, sparking protests from the black community and even prompting Nova Scotia’s first black lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis to speak out—saying she has been the victim of racial profiling while shopping.

In a short email statement Tuesday, Sobeys spokeswoman Shauna Selig said the company expects to finalize a resolution “shortly” that will include the withdrawal of the appeal.

But Rev. Lennett Anderson of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia says withdrawing the appeal is not enough, as David and the black community in general deserves an apology.

Anderson says the association voted over the weekend to boycott Sobeys until it apologizes and acknowledges that the issue of racial profiling is widespread.

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