The recent case of Arkadiusz Grzyb v Lidl Ireland Gmbh ADJ-00033038 demonstrates that an employer must ensure that the “punishment fits the crime” in respect of determining what disciplinary sanction (if any) may be appropriate where an investigation finds that the employee may have a case to answer in respect of their conduct at work.
In this case the company found the Complainant guilty of gross misconduct for theft due to non-adherence to cash management procedures, write off management, and inventory control following an investigation. The employee had removed some bakery items at the end of the day and applied the “waste not” procedure to the bakery goods whereby he purchased them at 20 cent each. As there were no discount stickers available, the employee took a product with a price of 20 cent and used this for an equivalent price entry. The employee was dismissed and appealed the decision which he also lost.
The Workplace Relations Commission found that “…..the sanction of dismissal does not come within the band of reasonable responses and is disproportionate. I find the Complainant was unfairly dismissed on substantive grounds”. The employees financial loss was approximately €23,000 but the compensation was reduced to €17,000 as it was found that the employee had contributed to his own dismissal.
Employment Law Case Tip
Employers should ensure that any disciplinary sanction is proportionate to the alleged misconduct and apply a lesser sanction such as a written warning, where appropriate.