When last we spoke of it, my long-running public accommodations complaint against Safeway for disabling the mute function on their self-checkout kiosks had been “administratively closed” by the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries, an action taken sometimes when the bureau is overworked and sometimes when they’ve indication that the complaint would fail. In response, I filed a public records request with BOLI for my file.
This afternoon, their public records coordinator sent me a Dropbox link and the primary revelation therein is that the legal counsel for Albertson’s (Safeway’s parent company) in fact did respond to BOLI, but that response never was communicated to me either by BOLI or by Albertson’s.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and I warn you in advance that this is going to be long, because I’m going to have to include a lot of the actual communications about the matter.
First, it’s important to note that BOLI received a response from Albertson’s/Safeway in June 2023, just after BOLI had contacted me to clarify the issues in my complaint. There never was any communication about my complaint until early December when I received the notification of Administrative Closure. Specifically, that letter dated in late November stated the following:
BOLI Civil Rights Division management recently conducted a Division-wide review of cases, due to a continuing strain on the Civil Rights Division’s limited resources.
During this review, management identified your case for Administrative Closure, which means that it was closed without the Division making any determinations regarding the merit of the allegations in your complaint.
No mention was made of having actually heard back from Albertson’s/Safeway six months prior, let alone any mention that BOLI’s investigator simply accepted the position of the company’s legal counsel. Here, then, we should turn to those communications between Albertson’s/Safeway and BOLI to which I’ve not been privy until today. I note, too, that there is no evidence in the file of what BOLI sent to Albertson’s/Safeway, only the company’s response. I’ve asked BOLI about this gap in the record [see the addenda below].
Here is what the legal counsel for Albertson’s/Safeway communicated to the BOLI investigtor in an email dated June 8, 2023, just three days after my emails with the investigator when he sought some clarification.
The position statement for Bix Frankonis v. Safeway is attached. Safeway can accommodate Complainant’s disability and it appears the customer was given the wrong information by an associate who was unaware that the checkstand sounds can be muted now that the software has been updated. The store has been retrained about how to mute registers and I have included step by step instructions in the position statement explaining the process in case the customer has any further issues. This should resolve the complaint, but because they also ask for a dedicated checkout line to accommodate their disability, I included additional discussion about what the ADA requires.
One reason I am curious to see what BOLI communicated to Albertson’s/Safeway about my complaint is that in fact I did not ever “ask for a dedicated checkout line to accommodate their disability” [see the addenda below]. So, before I detail what’s in the “position statement for Bix Frankonis” that I, Bix Frankonis, never was actually provided, I need to detail precisely and exactly everything I ever said about the matter either to Albertson’s/Safeway itself (since I provided these communications in the comlaint) or to BOLI.
December 31, 2021
My submission to Albertson’s “accessibility feedback” email address:
Please consider this an official request for disability accommodation in-store. Your self-checkout kiosks need to allow the customer to mute the machine’s running commentary, not merely reduce its volume. As an actually- autistic adult, grocery shopping already is what many of us consider a “sensory hell”. The additional sensory input of the checkout machine incessantly chattering is quite stressful. For those of us also navigating anxiety, the “spotlight effect” of feeling like we are on display during self-checkout is bad enough; being unable to mute the machine only makes it worse. The machines at my local Safeway used to allow the customer to mute them— and the machines at your competitor Fred Meyer still do—so I know it’s possible to do. Please add back the mute function.
The response from their Customer Support Center:
We apologize for any difficulty you have found in using our self-checkout stations, and the volume functions of the machines in them. We are happy to document and forward these issues onto our Management team on your behalf, as this is not a process we want anyone to find difficult or discouraging. We appreciate you reaching out to us and providing feedback on this issue so that we can continue to improve the quality of service we provide.
My submission to Safeway’s “store experience” feedback form:
Please consider this an official request for disability accommodation in-store. Your self-checkout kiosks need to allow the customer to mute the machine’s running commentary, not merely reduce its volume. As an actually-autistic adult, grocery shopping already is what many of us consider a “sensory hell”. The additional sensory input of the checkout machine incessantly chattering is quite stressful. For those of us also navigating anxiety, the “spotlight effect” of feeling like we are on display during self-checkout is bad enough; being unable to mute the machine only makes it worse. The machines at my local Safeway used to allow the customer to mute them—and the machines at your competitor Fred Meyer still do—so I know it’s possible to do. Please add back the mute function.
The response from their Customer Support Center:
Thank you for reaching out to us regarding Self-Check Out Kiosk.I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.
I already documented your concern and escalated it to our Store Director for further review and appropriate action. Hope to get a response from them as soon as possible to resolve the issue.
January 1, 2022
The response from the manager of my local Safeway:
I received an email from my corporate team about a concern due to the selfcheck- out machines not being able to be manually muted. This was a surprise to us too as the last we knew you could do this. However, I had my attendant for the machines check it and it absolutely appears that this function was taken away. I appreciate that you let us know and I will send a request to our division IT that oversees the machines to see if that can’t get this feature returned on the next update that they send out on them. We found a workaround where our attendant can manually shut it off, but it doesn’t seem to work without them using their override.
I apologize that I can’t get an instant fix on this, but we were able to determine where the issue came from so I will work to get removed back to how they used to run. If you have any other questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss further.
Thanks again for your time in letting us know and I hope to get this resolved soon.
Good to know I wasn’t misremembering this used to be possible. Thanks for the quick turnaround on letting me
know what’s up. I appreciate it.
November 12, 2022
From the online Public Accommodations Discrimination Questionnaire I submitted to BOLI:
Give a brief description of any harmful actions taken against you. Include the date(s) of the harm/action(s), the names and titles of persons involved. Please provide examples of discriminatory treatment.
Prior to 2021, the self-checkout registers at Safeway allowed the customer to mute the continuous, computer-voice narration. This was a godsend for those of us with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder. I’ve raised this issue a number of times with Safeway, and it’s gone both up the chain and down to the store manager, who at one point confirmed to me that, yes, customer used to be able to do this and, in fact, they didn’t realize it had even been disabled. Despite more than once raising this with them as a disability accommodations issue, it remains impossible to mute the voice.
Describe in general what major life activities (such as walking, lifting, seeing, breathing, hearing, etc.) are affected by the disability:
Autism spectrum disorder commonly is accompanied by sensory processing disorder, under which sensory demands that others might find routine or ignorable become instead an additional draw upon our limited resources. Grocery store, for example, already can be taxing simply due to their busy nature and their bright lighting. The self-checkout voice, however, gets through even any ear protection I wear when I go shopping. They need to restore the ability for customers to mute the voice.
May 10, 2022
From a message sent by BOLI:
Enclosed is a draft complaint with a brief and concise recitation of the facts you have provided. For different reasons, we have not included some details on the drafted complaint form but all the information you presented will be considered by the investigator during the investigation process.
Please review the drafted complaint. If it is accurate and you wish to proceed, sign, and return the complaint to the Division […].
The “concise recitation of the fact” that I signed off on:
I, Bix Frankonis, under penalty of perjury, do depose and say as follows:
Allegations: I allege unlawful discrimination in a place of public accommodations, in that Respondent made a distinction, discrimination, or restriction based on my disability.
- Respondent is a place of public accommodation as defined in ORS 659A.400.
I have medical conditions that substantially limit one or more major life activities.
Due to my disabling medical conditions, I have sensory processing problems.
Prior to 2021, the self-checkout registers at Safeway allowed the customer to mute the continuous, computer-voice narration. This helped me with my sensory processing problems.
From 2021, to date, Respondent does not allow to put in mute the self-checkout registers. I have raised this issue several times with Respondent and explained how my disabling medical conditions get exacerbated by the computerized voice.
To date, April 6, 2023, the issue has been discussed with upper management, including the store manager who confirmed that customers were able to place the machine in mute. Despite all my efforts and my request for accommodation, Respondent refused to assign a machine that can be placed in mute. My medical condition gets exacerbated each time I must use the self-checkout.
Respondent makes a distinction, discrimination, or restriction, in a place of public accommodation, based on my disability.
May 30, 2023
From a letter sent by BOLI:
Your complaint has been assigned to Civil Rights Division Investigator [name withheld by me} for investigative review. The Civil Rights Division is currently evaluating whether to investigate this matter further.
If the Division concludes that the information available does not indicate a significant possibility that further investigation will yield substantial evidence of the alleged unlawful practices, the case will be administratively closed. If the Division proceeds with further investigation, you may be asked to provide additional information. It is imperative that you update us if your contact information changes. If we request an interview or additional information, you must respond to that request promptly. Failure to do so can result in closure of your case.
June 2, 2023
My response to a request for additional information, which I believe came in the form of a voicemail that’s since been deleted.
This is in response to your request for additional information regarding my place of public accommodations complaint against Safeway. You are seeking:
- documentary evidence
- people in a similar situation
- statement re: evidence not in my possesion
Whatever evidence I have already has been submitted in my original Public Accommodations Questionnaire, Submission ID [redacted by me], wherein I stated
[Here I included the two representations I made in the questionnaire, both of which I’ve already included above.]
However, I do not remember if I simply narrated the existence of email from the manager of my local Safeway (confirming that the self-checkout machines no longer allowed a “mute” function, and indicating that he hadn’t even known the feature had been disabled), or if I provided the actual email(s) in question. I’ve attached three different email exchanges about the issue here, from late 2021 and early 2022, in case I never provided the actual communications, which confirm what I’ve communicated about the “mute” function having been disabled.
Included as well, just for the sake of oversharing rather than undersharing, is a page from the end of my original evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which confirms my diagnosis.
June 5, 2023
From the reply from the BOI investigator:
Regarding the evidence you mentioned you “submitted in my original Public Accommodations Questionnaire,” are you referring to documentation? If so, as that questionnaire was an online questionnaire, I don’t believe I have any evidence documents from you in my file already.
Please clarify, thanks.
Well that was how my process started, and then when BOLI asked me awhile later to submit a specific form if I still wanted to pursue it specifically told me anything I’d already done would be included.
Was that a lie?
The investigator’s reply:
I’m afraid I’m unsure what you mean. The online questionnaire you completed is not equipped to upload any documentation to, and I do not appear to have any documentation from you in support of your complaint in my file aside from the responses in your questionnaire itself.
Do you recall emailing documents to one of my colleagues during the intake phase of the BOLI process? If so, perhaps you could forward me the email you sent to them.
All there is is my original submission, my narrated descriptions from which I quoted, the specific form BOLI later asked me to sign and submit, and the emails I attached earlier this thread.
Sure thing. Thanks for clarifying.
So, there you have the entirety of my communications about my complaint, with Albertson’s/Safeway and with BOLI. Together with my other blog posts that reference the matter (the one linked at the start, as well as this June 2023 post and this August 2023 post), this represents everything I’ve ever said about it either publicly or within the complaint process itself.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ll notice one thing straight away: contrary to the attestation of Albertson’s legal counsel, at no point along the way did I “ask for a dedicated checkout line to accommodate their disability”. So, let’s get to that “position statement for Bix Frankonis” that I, Bix Frankonis, never actually was given either by Albertson’s/Safeway or by BOLI.
First, though, I need to quote part of the blog post I linked at the start of this one, where I was reacting to the Administrative Closure of my complaint.
Anyway, it’s frustrating that this is dragging on, as the fix is simple. Safeway loses nothing by reactivating the mute function, and the rule of thumb should be that disability accommodations should be made using the means that ar eleast disruptive to the disabled. While we know that staff can use their override card to enable the mute function on a one-off basis, I shouldn’t have to request this. If doorways were barely wide enough for a person we wouldn’t have a wider door for wheelchairs that require the disabled to hit a button to call an attendant to open it.
(To be clear: no one has suggested this alternative. It’s just that the manager, at least the one last year, told me in email that he could override the setting, and so I’m frankly surprised no one has said to me, “Just ask someone to do that, every single time you’re checking out.”)
At this point, you can see what’s coming from a mile away, can’t you? What follows is from the “position statement”. The tl;dr of it: yes, they are telling me, over the course of three entire pages, that I have to “ask someone to do that, every single time you’re checking out”.
June 8, 2023
As I say, this is three-pages long. As such, I’m going to annotate as I go along, rather than make anyone have to keep scrolling back up to find the bits to which I’m responding. A reminder: this position statement was attached to an email from Albertson’s/Safeway to the BOLI investigator on June 8, 2023. Until receiving my file today as the result of a public records request, I’d never seen it.
Respondent Safeway, Inc. (“Safeway”) submits this position statement in response to Charge of Discrimination No. STADP230510-10548 filed by Bix Frankonis (“Complainant”).1 As discussed in more detail below, Complainant was given incorrect information by the associate regarding the ability to mute sounds and self-checkout. Step by step instructions regarding how to do so can be found below. Complainant’s request for a dedicated register without sounds, however, exceeds what the law requires.
I. The Voice Prompts and Sounds Can Be Muted
Safeway’s associate is mistaken, and Complainant was given incorrect information. The sounds can be muted, but only by those with proper security clearance. In the future, Complainant can request to be helped by a person with a “self-checkout attendant card” or a “SCO attendant card.” Associates with the required card wear a red apron that says “Self-Checkout Pro.” The Store Director and Assistant Store Director also have these cards.
Here’s part of why I need to know what BOLI communicated to Albertson’s/Safeway about my complaint. As noted above, I included in my complaint my emails with the manager of my local store in which he explained this process to me, although it was news to him at the time that anything had changed. Either BOLI didn’t include this, or Albertson’s/Safeway’s legal counsel ignored it.
To mute the sounds the SCO Pro takes the following steps:
- Scan the SCO Attendant card
- Press the next button to go to the second screen of options
- Select “volume” on the second screen
- Lower the volume or select the ‘mute’ function
Store associates have retrained regarding how to mute the sounds, and the store Director and Assistant Store Director have been alerted that Complainant will be visiting the store. These steps should resolve any issues Complainant has, but if there are any further issues, Complainant should ask for the Store Director or Assistant Store Director and they will assist. However, as discussed below, Complainant’s request for a dedicated register reserved for those that have sensory issues exceeds what the law requires.
I’ve already indicated that I never requested such a thing [see the addenda below], but what’s remarkable to me about the above is the burden it places upon the disabled person themselves. As I outlined in my complaint, checkout lines already are a source of anxiety and stress due to the “spotlight effect”. I’m now being instructed as a matter of public performance to inconvenience all of myself, the customers in line behind me, and store staff in order to access a disability accommodation.
In other words, in order to access a disability accommodation, I have to further disable myself by making everyone behind me wait while I try to determine if the nearest staffer is (1) otherwise busy, (2) has the right security clearance, (3) knows what the fuck I’m even talking about, and/or (4) needs to go find someone else to handle it for me.
This is what Albertson’s/Safeway consider accommodating my disability?
II. The Remainder of Complainant’s Demand Exceeds What the Law Requires
As part of its mandate to combat discrimination, the EEOC has issued a document titled ADA Title III Assistance Manual Covering Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities. This Manual covers a wide range of topics, including checkout aisles:
If a store has check-out aisles, customers with disabilities must be provided an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities as customers without disabilities. To accomplish this, the store must either keep an adequate number of accessible aisles open or otherwise modify its policies and practices.
See Manual section III-4.2400. The manual then provides an example of what an “adequate number of accessible aisles” means:
ILLUSTRATION: PQR Foodmart has twenty narrow, inaccessible check-out aisles and one wider, accessible aisle. The accessible aisle is used as an express lane limited to customers purchasing fewer than ten items. K, who uses a wheelchair, wishes to make a larger purchase. PQR Foodmart must permit K to make his large purchase at the express lane.
Id. Safeway always has at least one staffed checkout line open at even the slowest of times, and has multiple lanes open during the majority of the day. Given that the manual states that a single accessible checkout line is an “adequate number,” Safeway meets or exceeds the accommodation requirements at all times. In addition, Drive Up and Go as well as delivery are also available to Complainant (discussed more below).
Per the above, “customers with disabilities must be provided an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities as customers without disabilities”.
My contention here is simple:
If in order to checkout without negatively impacting my sensory processing disorder, I need to negatively impact my social anxiety and aggravate the spotlight effect by delaying my own checkout, delaying the people behind me, and make needless busywork for otherwise already-overworked and understaffed staff, how can this at all be considered “an equivalent level of convenience”?
Non-disabled and disabled customers alike who do not need sensory processing accommdations simply get to stand in line, wait their turn, swipe their items, pay, and leave.
Even if explicit EEOC guidance is ignored, Complainant’s charge still fails because Safeway has legitimate non-discriminatory business reasons for using voice prompts, and multiple other accommodations are available to Complainant.
Self-checkout (referred to as “SCO” in the grocery industry) comes with a unique set of concerns that are not present with staffed checkout lanes and the voice prompts serve to address them. The first business reason is simple: the cashier needs to know a new customer has appeared. With a staffed lane, it is obvious when a customer appears because they are directly in sight and can be observed placing their items on the conveyor belt. A SCO cashier, however, frequently covers multiple checkout stations and moves between them customers as they need assistance. The “welcome valued customer” voice prompt serves to alert the cashier that a new transaction has started and calls their attention to that person. If the cashier hears the “help is on the way prompt” they know that a customer requires immediate assistance. In addition to customer service reasons, the SCO sounds serve both a legal and asset protection purpose.
Alcohol can be purchased at SCO, and underaged purchasers frequently try to avoid ID checks by going through SCO. The voice prompts alert the SCO cashier that they need to approach the customer and ask for ID as required by law. Theft is also common at SCO because the scanning of items is handled by the customer, not the cashier. Thieves use tricks such as not scanning items, scanning cheaper items in place of more expensive ones, or scanning fewer items than selected. The voice prompts allow the SCO cashier to use both sight and sound to spot theft. For example, if the machine speaks out a price of $1.99 or says “please place your bananas in the bag,” but the cashier sees steak, they know something is amiss.
I knew, of course, that they would make this a security issue. It’s important here, perhaps, to note that it’s now been reported that the National Federation of Retailers, of which Albertson’s/Safeway is a part, has overstated shoplifting (although they since retracted the statement), and that more generally, such claims are exaggerated. Forgive me if I’m not prepared to take Albertson’s/Safeway’s protestations about shoplifting at face value, given that the nation’s retailers also have been price gouging while calling it inflation.
It’s the part about alcohol, however, where their legal counsel a little bit steps in it. My local Safeway literally just recently completed renovations putting all the alcohol (as well as health and medicine supplies) in a separate section of the store, behind staffed checkout stations.
It is also important to note that while Complainant’s claimed disability may be adversely affected by the voice prompts, those with different disabilities benefit from them. For example, a visually impaired customer may not be able to see if their club card info was correctly input, so they rely on the “your card has been accepted” sound to know they were successful. Customers with limited reading skills or who are not native English speakers also benefit from the voice prompts because it does not force them to rely on reading to get information about their transaction.
Here’s where I really get angry, because Albertson’s/Safeway’s legal counsel is trying to split apart natural allies, and make me feel as if I’m somehow being unaccommodating to other disabled people. I’ve never asked that the self-checkout kiosks be permanently muted. I’ve asked for the restoration of my own ability to mute them when I’m using them. In the past, after I was done the system simply reset to the default for the next customer.
My requested accommodation inconveniences no other disabled person, and I take great offense at the attempts of Albertson’s/Safeway’s legal counsel to undermine my solidarity with the disability community writ large. Shame on you.
Even if the legitimate business reasons are ignored, Complainant’s charge must still fail because there are multiple other accommodations available to him. It is an ADA maxim that people are entitled to an accommodation, not their preferred accommodation. While Complainant prefers to use SCO, that does not mean Safeway must make changes to SCO to accommodate his demands. Complainant can still use the regular checkout lanes which do not have the voice prompt, he can also use Drive up and Go, and delivery.
Here’s the thing, though: the position statement from Albertson’s/Safeway itself says, quoting ADA Title III Assistance Manual Covering Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, that “customers with disabilities must be provided an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities as customers without disabilities”. Telling me that I have to jump through additional hoops, or use a completely different process by ordering for delivery, in no way can be considered “an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities”. My access specifically to Drive up and Go and delivery options itself might be the same as a non-disabled person or a differently-disabled person, but it is not the same as providing “an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities”.
Their position statement literally begins by describing an entire process by which not only am I inconvenienced in ways the non-disabled or differently-disabled are not, but in the process am inconveniencing other people in ways that will only increase my own anxiety and therefore disablement.
Using drive-up or delivery is not merely a hypothetical ADA accommodation, it was a suggested accommodation by Disability Rights Oregon during the height of the COVID pandemic. Many customers claimed to have medical issues that prevent them from wearing facemasks inside the store. The guidance provided to those customers was simple:
While ordering things online or having your groceries delivered to you curbside might not be your preference, these kinds of accommodations are likely going to be your best option for getting what you need.
Complainant has the additional option of using a staffed checkout lane, which means he has greater flexibility than what a specialized disability rights organization suggests. Regardless of what option he chooses, all the options are reasonable under the ADA and satisfy Safeway’s obligations under the law.
Safeway apologizes for the incorrect information given to Complainant. The store has been retrained about how to mute the sounds that may cause issues with their disability.
June 9, 2023
From the response of the BOLI investigator:
Thank you for providing this, and for the explanation regarding Respondent’s ability to accommodate.
Great. I’ll be sure to keep you in mind for this and other Safeway related complaints.
A couple of quick additional points. First, I’ve emailed the legal counsel for Albertson’s/Safeway to correct the record on what I did and did not request [see the addenda below], and to mention that no one ever bothered to share with me their position statement.
Second, the existence of this position statement seems directly to contravene BOLI’s representations to me in its notice of Administrative Closure that their action came after “a Division-wide review of cases, due to a continuing strain on the Civil Rights Division’s limited resources” and that “it was closed without the Division making any determinations regarding the merit of the allegations”.
I’ll just close this out by giving a very brief look at part of the Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations, specifically (as that links) § 36.201 General—or, really just this first bit.
(a) Prohibition of discrimination. No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any private entity who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.
See also this from § 36.202 Activities, which is presented as a single paragraph, but I’m going to break it up by letter for readability.
(a) Denial of participation. A public accommodation shall not subject an individual or class of individuals on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, directly, or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, to a denial of the opportunity of the individual or class to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation.
(b) Participation in unequal benefit. A public accommodation shall not afford an individual or class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, directly, or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, with the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation that is not equal to that afforded to other individuals.
(c) Separate benefit. A public accommodation shall not provide an individual or class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, directly, or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation that is different or separate from that provided to other individuals, unless such action is necessary to provide the individual or class of individuals with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation, or other opportunity that is as effective as that provided to others.
(d) Individual or class of individuals. For purposes of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section, the term “individual or class of individuals” refers to the clients or customers of the public accommodation that enters into the contractual, licensing, or other arrangement.
I’m essentially talking about (a) from § 36.201 General and (b) from § 36.202 Activities here, and technically speaking so is the legal counsel for Albertson’s/Safeway when he quotes ADA Title III Assistance Manual Covering Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities as saying that “customers with disabilities must be provided an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities as customers without disabilities”.
It’s simple really.
It cannot reasonably be considered an equal benefit, or an equivalent level of convenience, if to access one disability accommodation I must subject myself to further, if different, disablement. My sensory processing disorder doesn’t exist in a vacuum. I tend toward self-checkout over staffed checkout precisely because of other of my disabilities. Self-checkout itself is an accommodation of that disability. As it stands, I’m already subjecting myself to one kind of disablement in order to avoid another.
The position of Albertson’s/Safeway is that simply switching around which disability is being accommodated and which is being aggravated is a solution.
It is not, because it is not “the full and equal enjoyment” of a place of public accommodation.
A couple of corrections the day after: First, the file does in fact contain the transmission of the complaint from BOLI to Albertson’s/Safeway, but I simply didn’t see it in the stream of my documentation which was included in it, sent in a letter dated May 30, 2023. Second, I now see where legal counsel for Albertson’s/Safeway got the impression that I’d requested a dedicated checkout line: the “concise recitation of the facts” I’d signed off on says that Safeway “refused to assign a machine that can be placed in mute”, and I didn’t notice this wording at the time, when I’d taken it to mean they wouldn’t restore the function not that they wouldn’t set up a single machine dedicated to this purpose.
I neglected to mention that the above clarity comes from an email response from BOLI pointing me to the specific pages I’d somehow just glossed over in my bleary-eyedness yesterday.