Traveller Discriminated by Supermarket Chain

The Equality Authority welcomed the decision today of the ODEI in favour of Ann McDonagh in her case against Tesco Ireland Ltd.

“The case is the first such case to be heard under the Equal Status Act. It is testament to the widespread discrimination experienced by the Traveller community and their ability to challenge this under the new legislation. It must now serve as a wake-up call to service providers to gear up for their obligations under the Equal Status Act, to ensure their staff are trained in this area and to put in place Equal Status Policies for their organisations”, stated Niall Crowley, CEO Equality Authority.

The Director of Equality Investigations has published the first decision relating to a supermarket in an equal status case. The Equal Status Act, 2000 outlaws discrimination including membership of the Traveller Community in the provisions of goods, services, facilities and access to education, accommodation and clubs. Ann McDonagh claimed that while shopping in Tesco, Waterford she was asked to leave the premises. She claimed that this was on the grounds of her membership of the Traveller community. Tesco denied this allegation and stated that the complainant was asked to leave because she had been barred previously from the store. The Equality Officer found that the complainant had established a case of discrimination on the Traveller community ground and that there was insufficient evidence to support the supermarket’s case.

The Equality Officer ordered that Tesco Ireland Ltd. provide the complainant with free shopping in their Waterford stores to the value of £1,000 (EURO 1270). He also ordered that Tesco Ireland Ltd. pay the complainant a further £1,500 (EURO 1905) for the embarrassment and humiliation suffered by her and for the loss of amenity suffered by her since the date of the incident.