Sacked till operator settles award challenge
A former Dunnes Stores checkout operator, sacked for claiming unused Value Club points from customers on her own club card, has "amicably settled" a court challenge by the company against an award she won for unfair dismissal.
Anthony Kerr, counsel for Patricia Heffernan, told the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin yesterday that an Employment Appeals Tribunal earlier this year had ordered Dunnes to pay Ms Heffernan, of Edenmore Crescent, Raheny, Dublin, €26,190 compensation.
Mark Connaughton, for the company, said it was appealing the award on the basis that Ms Heffernan had breached her employment contract.
Following a break in evidence, counsel told Judge Joseph Mathews that the parties had amicably settled their differences and had reduced the terms of settlement to writing.
He said that by consent the determination of the tribunal could be vacated by the court. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court.
Mr Connaughton told the court that Ms Heffernan's work contract had made it clear that an employee should never take credit for a customer's transactions and she should have been aware that workers at the Edenmore Shopping Centre store, where she had worked, had previously been dismissed for breach of this condition.
The tribunal, which found that Ms Heffernan had been unfairly sacked, heard that management discovered that she had accepted points that customers told her to take when they had forgotten their own cards.
Ms Heffernan had told the tribunal that it had never occurred to her that she had been doing anything wrong and that other staff had been doing the same thing. She claimed management's decision to dismiss her had been inappropriate and disproportionate.
The company's case was that it had a zero-tolerance approach in relation to any breach of its Value Club scheme and that this clear policy had been broken. While it was proper to describe it as serious misconduct rather than gross misconduct, it did warrant dismissal.