WRC ORDERS SUPERMARKET TO PAY €12,000 COMPENSATION FOR TRAVELLER DISCRIMINATION
12 October 2022
FLAC welcomes the decision of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to award its clients €12,000 for the effects of the discrimination they suffered on a visit to Iceland Stores Ireland Ltd’s Finglas supermarket in November 2020.
FLAC’s clients, three of whom were under 18, entered Iceland’s Finglas supermarket on the afternoon of 20 November 2020. CCTV evidence obtained by FLAC showed that within moments of entering the supermarket, a security guard and assistant manager confronted FLAC’s clients and told them to leave. In full view of other customers, FLAC’s clients were followed out of the supermarket by the Iceland staff.
The Adjudicator found that FLAC’s clients had received different treatment from other customers at the supermarket:
“that difference in treatment has been corroborated by CCTV footage that shows [FLAC’s client] along with others who are all members of the traveller community were escorted out of the shop while other young people were not.”
No objective reason was provided by Iceland’s staff to FLAC’s clients for requiring them to leave, nor was any evidence adduced at the WRC hearing to justify their actions. Accordingly, the Adjudicator awarded each of FLAC’s clients €3,000 to compensate them for the “emotional upset and public embarrassment” they experienced.
Christopher McCann, FLAC Solicitor, noted that:
“We are delighted that our clients have been vindicated after being subjected to a humiliating experience for no reason whatsoever. We commend our clients for their bravery in pursuing their case and successfully challenging the discriminatory treatment they received.”
Eilis Barry, FLAC Chief Executive, stated:
“While this decision is very welcome, it is doubtful that the discriminatory treatment received by FLAC’s clients could have been challenged without the presence of FLAC’s Traveller Legal Service. As with other cases before the WRC in which FLAC has acted for marginalised clients, this case underlines the need for equality cases to be brought within the remit of the State’s scheme of civil legal aid and for a fully resourced national legal service for Travellers.”
Notes to Editor:
FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation, which exists to promote equal access to justice. In July 2020, FLAC launched its dedicated Traveller Legal Service. Supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland and in cooperation with a Steering Group made up of representation from the national Traveller organisations, the aims of the Service are to empower Travellers and Traveller groups to engage with the law as a means of combating discrimination and advancing the rights of Travellers in Irish Society. The TLS comprises a full-time solicitor, Christopher McCann for three years. Referrals to the Service come through national and local Traveller organisations.
Decisions of the Workplace Relations Commission: