Defamation

Settlement of Compensation for Defamation by a Supermarket Manager Approved in Court


 

A judge at the Ennis Circuit Court has approved a settlement of compensation for defamation by a supermarket manager in favour of a seventeen-year-old girl.

On 5th November 2014, the unnamed teenager visited the Aldi store on Francis Street in Ennis with her infant brother, and an adult member of the Traveller community who had her own infant son with her.

While the party were in the store, they were approached by another customer, who told them she had heard the manager of the store tell a security guard to “keep an eye on the tinkers in aisle three”. The customer told the party that in her opinion the comment was made about them.

As the party continued to move around the store, the security guard followed them – maintaining “overt surveillance” over their activities. Eventually the adult Traveller confronted the store manager with what she had been told. The store manager denied the accusations, but the previous customer intervened and confirmed what she had heard the store manager say.

After telling her father what had happened in the Aldi store, he made a claim for compensation for defamation by a supermarket manager on her daughter´s behalf, alleging that she had been distressed, upset, humiliated and embarrassed.

It was claimed that the girl was very conscious of people looking at them, and upset at the thought that people might meet her outside of the store with a false impression that she did nothing to create. The girl is currently studying for her Leaving Certificate and hopes to train in Limerick for a third-level qualification in hairdressing and beauty therapy.

Aldi made an offer of compensation for defamation by a supermarket manager amounting to €7,500, but without an admission of liability or an apology. The girl´s father was not happy with the offer but, at the Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys heard that the family´s solicitor had recommended acceptance of the offer in the circumstances.

Judge Keys approved the settlement of compensation for defamation by a supermarket manager after hearing the girl´s Barrister tell the court “the pejorative and disparaging comment made by the store manager indicates a reckless form of racial stereotyping due to my client’s membership of the Traveller community”.