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Discrimination case Dublin shop ordered to pay €7k to Traveller woman who was refused service

She told the WRC the staff member told her “Get out, I’m not serving you”.

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Workplace Relations Commission

Workplace Relations Commission

Workplace Relations Commission

A convenience store in south Dublin has been ordered to pay €7,000 to a member of the Travelling community who was refused service and ordered off its premises.

The Workplace Relations Commission made the award to Margaret Green after ruling she had been discriminated against by the Centra store on Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin under the Equal Status Act.

Ms Green claimed she was followed down the aisle by a senior staff member when she entered the shop on February 10, 2020 to buy a packet of firelighters.

She told the WRC the staff member told her “Get out, I’m not serving you”.

When she asked what she had done wrong, Ms Green said the individual replied: “You don’t have to do anything wrong, just get out.”

She claimed the man refused to provide his name and to call gardaí as she had requested.

Ms Green said she believed she was treated less favourably than other customers as she was the only one of around 10 customers refused service and asked to leave the store.

The WRC heard she found the experience deeply distressing and felt embarrassed and humiliated and left the shop in tears.

Ms Green said she was proud to be a settled Traveller and found it upsetting to be treated like dirt “in this day and age.”

She claimed other Travellers had also told her that they had been barred from the shop for no apparent reason other than being a Traveller.

Ms Green’s daughter gave evidence that she was also barred from the Centra store and her 10-year-old son had been shouted at by a director to “get out” of the shop.

A representative of the National Travellers Service, Rory O’Carroll, who supported Ms Green at the hearing said he was surprised that a year previously Ms Green had asked him to go into the Centra store for her for cigarettes because she stated she would not be served herself.

The director of the store told the WRC that he had spoken to Ms Green discreetly at the rear of the shop and asked her to leave as he could not serve her.

He claimed Ms Green knew the reason why she was being asked to leave and he denied telling her to “get out”.

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The director said he had been in business since 1973 and would never treat anyone in such an alleged manner as he had the utmost respect for all members of the public.

He claimed Ms Green was begging from customers nearby outside another premises and that he had made an arrangement with her about nine years previously that she would be served if she stopped begging but she had not honoured the agreement.

In its ruling, the WRC said Ms Green’s evidence was “cogent and compelling” and the testimony of her daughter and Mr O’Carroll were “very persuasive.”

WRC adjudicator, Valerie Murtagh, said the evidence of the store’s director was “inconsistent and lacking in credibility”.

In finding that Ms Green had been discriminated by the Centra store, Ms Murtagh said she was conscious of the intergenerational discrimination in the case and the effects this treatment had on her and her family.

In addition to compensation of €7,000 the WRC also ordered the store to carry out training for its staff in relation to the provisions of equal status legislation.

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