A HEAVILY pregnant woman was told to bare her stomach in a crowded liquor store to prove she wasn’t shoplifting or police would be called.
The incident has prompted a call for the State Government to ban private strip searches of customers in shops.Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman, Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, today said the incident was “totally appalling” and an invasion of individual rights.
Cr Tully said the 40-year-old woman was in a Springfield bottleshop last week buying a birthday present when the shop assistant forced her to lift her shirt and expose her baby-belly in front of other customers, after being wrongly accused of shoplifting.
The woman was told if she did not comply, police would be called.
It is believed the 1st Choice Liquor staff claimed there had been a similar incident earlier in the week where a person who was posing as a pregnant woman was actually stealing alcohol.
Cr Tully said it was disgraceful that an eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman had been humiliated in public for such a minor matter.
He said shoplifting was a matter for police not “voyeurs” working behind the counter.
“The liquor store should be forced to apologise and pay compensation to this woman for the degrading way she was treated,” Cr Tully said.
“The State Government should make it illegal for store owners to require shoppers to submit to strip searches in public.”
The Queensland Times reports that a 1st Choice Springfield Lakes company spokesman said it was not store policy to ask customers to lift up their shirts in cases of suspected thefts, nor were staff allowed to touch customers.
The store has apologised to the woman.
Is nobody else concerned with the fact that this was a PREGNANT woman in a LIQUOR store?