M&S ordered to pay man €14,540 for 'unfair' dismissal
Marks & Spencer sacked a male sales assistant for 'hiding' full-price children's clothes on a discounted rack and later buying the clothes as a gift for a child relative.
Now, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has ordered the Irish arm of the retail giant to pay Michael McCrann €14,540 after ruling that he had been unfairly dismissed.
In the case, M&S sacked Mr McCrann for a gross breach of company regulations on March 17, 2012.
The retailer dismissed Mr McCrann after CCTV spotted him placing children's sales items behind non-sale items so as to reduce the chances of these items being bought by customers.
The footage showed Mr McCrann at the retailer's Mary's Street outlet in Dublin returning to the items once he was finished work and purchasing them.
M&S has a policy in place which states that items may not be reserved by customers or staff.
The firm claimed that Mr McCrann effectively reserved the items by placing them behind the sale items on the rail.
Mr McCrann was invited to a disciplinary meeting where management dismissed him. Mr McCrann appealed the decision, but the dismissal was upheld.
Mr McCrann told the EAT that he was well aware of the company policy that dictated that sales items could not be reserved behind the sales desk and claimed that he didn't breach the policy by placing the items on the shop floor, albeit on inappropriate rails.
The worker told the EAT that the sanction of dismissal was too severe and that other sanctions ought to have been considered.
In its determination, the EAT found that M&S "acted unreasonably in deciding to dismiss the claimant".
Divisional organiser with MANDATE Michael Meegan represented Mr McCrann at the tribunal.
He said yesterday: "While I'm delighted with the outcome of the tribunal, this young lad lost his job two years ago because of it and hadn't at the time of the tribunal gotten any new work."
Mr Meegan said that the award "will help Michael in some way but he has found it very difficult to get new work.
"To dismiss an employee for what he did is very unfair and goes beyond the bounds of reasonableness," he said, adding that M&S was not at any loss as a result of the incident.