EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM OF: CASE NO.
Joseph Adam – claimant UD29/2013
Kasterlee Limited T/a The Gibson Hotel (in liquidation) – respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr D. MacCarthy SC
Members: Mr E. Handley
Ms E. Brezina
heard this claim at Dublin on 23rd February 2015
Claimant: Mr Brendan Savage BL instructed by O’Hanrahan Lally Solicitors,
77 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
Respondent: Ms Claire Hellen of IBEC,
84/86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
The claimant was employed as a breakfast chef. In the kitchen the head chef was in charge and the sous chef was the second in command.
The sous chef gave evidence. The claimant started work at 5.00am and finished at 2.00pm. He got on well with the claimant. They were friendly but they had a job to do.
On the day of the incident the head chef was off and the sous chef was in charge. The sous chef came to work early. When he was directing the work of the evening chefs he noticed that the claimant was not in the kitchen. The sous chef went looking for the claimant but did not find him.
The sous chef went to the duty manager to check the CCTV and saw the claimant going towards the changing room with an ice cream container held tight to his chest. Later CCTV images showed the claimant returning while carrying the container normally.
The sous chef informed the HR manager of his suspicions. She called the claimant to her office and asked him if had taken something. He replied that he had a soft drink the night manager had given him. When asked if there was anything else, the claimant stayed silent. The HR manager asked to search the claimant’s locker. He agreed. On the way to the changing room the claimant asked the sous chef to tell the HR manager he had given him permission.
In the changing room the claimant opened his locker and took out the soft drink and his coat. He took a packet of vacuum packed cured salmon weighing between 800g and 1kg from the pocket of his coat. A photograph of the packet was shown to the Tribunal. This is an expensive product and is served only on the a la carte menu in the bar. The packet contained enough cured salmon for 5 or 6 portions. The claimant had taken the cured salmon without permission. It is the respondent's policy that no one may eat or take food from the kitchen without permission. There is a canteen where employees are given lunch and dinner. On occasion, if the claimant missed his break the sous chef allowed him to cook fried rice or noodles which he then took to the canteen to eat.
The claimant was suspended with pay pending an investigation. Following the investigation there was a disciplinary meeting with the claimant and he was dismissed.
The claimant gave evidence. On the day of the incident he was preparing the staff lunch. It was the standard lunch of salads, soup and bread. Steamed salmon was on the staff menu that day but there was no steamed salmon so he took the cured salmon and prepared it. It was the only salmon there. There were more than 20 employees for lunch that day.
The claimant said that his working hours had been cut and therefore he had to find a second job. He did not have time to eat lunch in the canteen and get to his other job on time. He took half of the prepared salmon from the canteen and put it in his locker so he could eat it while driving to his second job. It was not the packet shown to the Tribunal. The claimant then went looking for the sous to ask his permission.
The Tribunal having seen and heard both witnesses accepted the evidence of the sous chef and rejected the evidence of the claimant. The claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 is dismissed.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal