Woman fired after balancing shop till with own money
A woman has claimed she was unfairly dismissed from her job as a chief cashier at a hardware store after she used €30 of her own money to balance the tills.
An Employment Appeals Tribunal heard Geraldine Pender lost the "trust and confidence" of her employer following the incident.
Ms Pender (59), from Donaghmede, north Dublin, took a case against Woodies DIY stores after she lost her job almost two years ago, having worked for the company for more than eight years.
Adrian Tyrell, executive regional manager at the hardware chain, said Ms Pender, who was the chief cashier in the Coolock store, was dismissed for "breaching the trust and confidence" of the company after she put some of her own money in the shop's safe and falsified customer information to balance the tills one night.
Ms Pender told the tribunal that on the evening before she was due to go on holiday, on September 5, 2014, the tills in the store were down by €30.
She decided to put her own money in as she did not want there "to be a fuss for the person on duty the next day to sort out".
The tribunal heard Ms Pender instructed a lower-level member of staff to help her fish receipts out of a bin in the store.
She then forged the names and addresses of customers on the receipts, as signing a receipt is the policy of the store when returning goods. She then put €30 of her own money with the receipts in the safe.
While on holiday, Ms Pender suffered a minor stroke and was on sick leave from her job for several weeks. At the same time, the junior member of staff reported the falsification of the receipts to management.
A disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct was held when Ms Pender returned.
The tribunal was told that both sides agreed Ms Pender had falsified the information on the receipts and placed her own money in the safe to balance the tills, but did not do so for personal gain.
Tiernan Doherty from Ibec, representing Woodies, said that although the amount was small, Ms Pender had given a false record of the company's stock by issuing false receipts and had broken the trust of her employer.
"The act of putting money from your own pocket into the safe to balance the tills is unheard of and bizarre," he added.
Blaithín Gallagher BL, for Ms Pender, argued her client was treated unfairly in the disciplinary hearing chaired by Mr Tyrell.
Following an appeal, she was offered a lower position in another store, but Ms Pender claimed she could not accept because she cannot drive.