Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Girl wrongly shamed for shoplifting offered job and money

The shop posted security-camera photos of the girl and two youths on its Facebook "Wall of Shame". Photo / iStock
The shop posted security-camera photos of the girl and two youths on its Facebook "Wall of Shame". Photo / iStock

A clothing shop offered a part-time job and money to a teenage girl it wrongly shamed online for shoplifting.

The shop posted security-camera photos of the girl and two youths on its Facebook "Wall of Shame" under the text, "These people forgot to pay for their items."

The two youths were later charged with theft, but the police did not prosecute the girl, who was clearly identifiable in the photos.

Her father said she was innocent and did not know that the youths had taken items without paying.

He said his daughter had a medical condition that was worsened by the stress of the accusation and had even talked about suicide.

The father complained to the shop for unfairly branding his daughter as a shoplifter, leaving her feeling humiliated in their small community.

The manager defended her actions on the shop's Facebook page and blocked the father from commenting in his daughter's defence.

The father took the matter to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which found that the shop manager had made two breaches under the Privacy Act.

The office found the Facebook Wall of Shame was for embarrassing people in photos, which was not consistent with collecting personal information for security reasons.

It also found that personal information was disclosed without reasonable grounds for doing so.

During dispute resolution, the shop offered part-time employment to the girl and money for the emotional harm and humiliation she suffered.

The girl rejected the offer.

The photos were eventually taken off the Facebook page and the parties reached a resolution.

- NZ Herald

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