In the recent Employment Appeals Tribunal decision of Karen Deegan v Dunnes Stores, the Tribunal awarded a former deli counter employee €8,800 in compensation for her unfair dismissal.
The Claimant commenced employment in 2007 as a deli counter assistant. At the time of her induction she was made aware of the company’s policies and procedures, including their employee purchases policy. The Respondent became aware that staff were consuming food without payment and so two CCTV cameras were installed in the retail area and food preparation area. Staff were not informed of their installation.
The Claimant was filmed consuming food without payment on several occasions and on the 7th October 2011 she was called to attend a meeting with the Store Manager and HR Manager without advance notification. She was shown the CCTV footage and admitted to her actions. The Claimant was informed that she would be suspended with pay and was told to report for a further meeting the following day.
The Claimant submitted to the Tribunal that she believed that she would simply receive a “telling off” in that meeting. However, when she met with the Assistant Store Manager the following day, she was informed that she was being dismissed from her employment.
The Tribunal acknowledged that the consumption of company food without payment was a serious issue however they were critical of the Respondent’s method in dealing with it. The Tribunal held that the Respondent’s investigation and disciplinary process fell short of accepted practice. The Tribunal did note that the Claimant contributed to her dismissal by 2/3 and accordingly awarded her €8,800 in compensation for her unfair dismissal.
To read further on the decision-