Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
'English-only' car yard to pay damages
An incident at a car yard where a Spanish customer was told to ''get out" because he did not speak English should not have happened in modern Australia and was an example of race discrimination, a tribunal has found.
The Administrative Decisions Tribunal has awarded $6000 in damages to father and daughter Nestor and Varina Moreira over the incident at the Wyong car yard of Peter Robert Motors in 1999.
''This incident was most regrettable and should not occur in the multicultural Australian society of today. There are many Australians whose first language is not English, and people should be entitled to communicate in their first language when they choose. In fact, interpreters are provided to facilitate such communication in many circumstances at government expense," the tribunal members said.
The tribunal held that while the company said it was customer focused, it had no written anti-discrimination policy and gave no training about discrimination legislation. It held it liable for its salesman's actions, and ordered it to pay damages.
The tribunal heard the Moreiras had asked salesman Dennis Arndell to show them some cars for sale. Mr Moreiras, who spoke little English, began to tell his daughter in Spanish that he thought the trade-in price offered for his car was too low.
Ms Moreira said the salesman said: ''What, you don't talk English? ... Get out, get out of my car yard." As they left, Ms Moreira said ''do you know what year it is?" to which Mr Arndell replied ''Der." She said: ''You're discriminating against us" and Mr Arndell said: ''Go and dob me in."
Mr Arndell said he had no problem with the Moreiras speaking Spanish but he needed them to speak English so he could understand their objections to the car deal.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.