The Irish branch of German discount giant Lidl has sacked a manager after buying €7.20 worth of baked goods for 40 cents 25 minutes before closing time.
Now Workplace Relations Commission arbitrator Davnet O’Driscoll has found that Arkadiusz Grzyb was unfairly dismissed and ordered Lidl Ireland Gmbh to pay Mr Grzyb €21,211 in compensation .
In her submissions, Ms O’Driscoll concluded that the sanction of dismissing Mr Grzyb for fundamental breach of trust “falls outside the range of reasonable responses and was disproportionate”.
Ms O’Driscoll found that Mr Gryzb’s explanation of the breach of procedures or evidence from other witnesses of the lack of clarity in Lidl’s practice of discounting baked goods had been given little consideration .
She also found that there was little regard for Mr. Grzyb’s good service and the low value of the baked goods involved at the end of the day.
Mr. Grzyb was dismissed on March 15, 2021, following incidents that occurred on October 26 and 28, 2020, when he was a service executive.
Lidl found Mr Gryzb guilty of gross misconduct for alleged theft for failing to follow cash management, write-off management and inventory control procedures following an investigation.
The company has a ‘no waste’ policy whereby food that has expired but was still safe to eat has been discounted with a barcode – this applies to poultry and dairy products. meat.
Lidl alleged that Mr Gryzb, through his conduct, manipulated politicians to allegedly steal baked goods on October 26 and 28, 2020.
In his defence, Mr Gryzb said he adapted a common practice practiced in other Lidl stores and that these were minor breaches of procedure.
He felt that the “do not waste” procedure could be applied to baked goods that were written off.
He argued that there was no economic loss to the business and that a surplus resulted because he was paying for the baked goods.
Mr Gryzb said he only realized he was charged with theft after seeing the investigation report in February 2021.
He said the employer’s conduct was unreasonable because what he did could not be considered gross misconduct and the employer disregarded the reasonable excuse given.
Mr. Gryzb’s lawyer, Eamonn O’Hanrahan, argued that the investigation into Mr. Gryzb’s conduct was adversarial and that it was a predetermined investigation.
He said Mr Gryzb was not told he was charged with theft as part of the investigation, but was charged with failing to follow various procedures.
In her findings, Ms O’Driscoll found that the manager who made the decision to dismiss had not considered any alternative to dismissal, although there were other possible sanctions.
Mr Gryzb was out of work for 10 weeks and Ms O’Driscoll awarded him €23,461.
However, taking into account her own contribution to her dismissal, she reduced it to €17,596.
Ms O’Driscoll also concluded that Mr Gryzb was entitled to four weeks’ notice and ordered Lidl to pay him four weeks’ notice of €3,615 for his breach of the Payment of Wages Act 1991.