By James Atkinson

A finding of racial discrimination against a bottle shop for refusing service to an aboriginal woman underlines the need for liquor retailers to adequately train their employees on specialist licence conditions, a tribunal has warned.

The Equal Opportunity Tribunal of South Australia this month upheld a complaint by the woman, who was refused service by the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel in the state's west.

In October 2009, new licence conditions were imposed on the hotel banning it from packaged liquor sales to anyone believed to be residing in or travelling to nearby 'dry' indigenous communities.

The following month, the employee of the hotel's drive-through bottle shop refused to sell the woman a cask of wine on these grounds, wrongly assuming that she and her passenger were headed to the banned community.

Tribunal Judge Cole and Member Altman accepted that the employee, "for noble, and even if altruistic reasons took it upon himself to err on the side of caution".

But they said he had nonetheless made a series of unfounded assumptions based "at least partly" on the women's race.

The tribunal ordered the hotel to pay the woman $3,000 on account of injury to her feelings that arose as a consequence of the discrimination.

"We have some sympathy with [the employee], because he was called on to perform his duties in the context of complex licensing conditions in relation to which no training was given," they said.

"The need for training of staff in respect of complex licence conditions has been made obvious by this case."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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