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Sunday 21 September 2014

Ex-M&S worker given 'impossible task', hears tribunal

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

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Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer

A FORMER employee of Marks & Spencer has claimed he was given the "impossible task" of removing out-of-date product from the fridges in an "unreasonable time frame".

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John Daly of Cahernane Meadows, Killarney, was dismissed by the company for failing to follow correct procedure in February 2010, but is challenging this decision.

An employment appeals tribunal has heard Mr Daly was "under performing" at his job as an operative in M&S's Killarney store.

He had gone through a grievance hearing by the company in May 2010 and subsequently a disciplinary hearing appeal.

Muriel Silke, a human resources manager with M&S, told the tribunal she had investigated Mr Daly's complaint prior to the grievance hearing and was also called in by the company to be part of the appealed disciplinary hearing.

The tribunal heard that Mr Daly had been assigned to date-expired-product (DEF) removal duties at the Killarney shop on November 15, 2010, with a co-worker and was given two hours to complete the task.

He was assigned three fridges to inspect, but in that timeframe had only completed an inspection of one fridge and part of a second fridge.

M&S disputes his claim that this was an "unreasonable timeframe" in which to complete this duty and that staff were "stressed" and "pressurised" to complete the task and "bullied" into signing off documentation that this had been done.

Mr Daly contends it would take at least six hours to complete the task to satisfaction, but M&S says the two hours allotted at its Killarney store is fair.

Mr Daly also claims he was "over-monitored with malicious intent" and that his monitoring by Ms Silke was "over-zealous".

Ms Silke told the tribunal: "He was not monitored more than anyone else. His performance determined how he was managed in the shop."

A request by Mr Daly to be assigned to other duties within the store other than DEF removal was denied.

Ms Silke added: "We would not move a member of staff from one area to another because of underperformance because it's not practical to run a business like that."

She also denied claims by him that other colleagues were only "spot-checking" products and that the store was particularly busy on the night the incident occurred, or that he had not received sufficient training to carry out the task.

The tribunal continues today.

Irish Independent

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