Demoted Tesco manager 'stacked Easter eggs'
A senior Tesco manager who was demoted after she removed cosmetics from a shop floor claimed she spent a week "stacking Easter eggs" while she was supposed to be retrained for a new position.
Margaret Clare (35), from Co Kildare, sent in her resignation letter on July 25, 2013 after claiming she had been constructively dismissed from the supermarket giant.
The mother-of-two admitted to removing cosmetics and other items from shelves at Tesco in Dundrum, Dublin, on February 17, 2013, and placing them in a back room with the intention of purchasing them later.
Ms Clare, who had been personnel manager at the store, was suspended with pay the next day and later demoted to line manager at a store in Dun Laoghaire.
She said she undertook two weeks of training at a store in Ballybrack before taking up the lower paid role, but that this was extended to a month after she spent a week "stacking Easter eggs".
She said: "The training didn't take place the first week as it was Easter week, so I was stacking Easter eggs.
"As far as I was concerned I was there for training reasons to move on to a different store, not to pack out the store."
The Employment Appeals Tribunal heard yesterday that Ms Clare had returned the items after realising she did not have her laser card with her.
On March 19, Ms Clare was told she was being demoted after breaching the company's purchasing policy, which states that all products must be paid for at time of removal from shelves, unless given permission from management.
Barrister for Ms Clare, Joan Walsh BL argued that because there were no other senior managers on duty, Ms Clare could have sanctioned the removal herself.
Paul O'Brien from IBEC said that under Tesco's policies, management reserve the right when disciplining staff to demote them.
Ms Clare said that after taking up the line manager role she felt "isolated" by other staff, who she believed knew she had been disciplined. "I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating. My confidence was gone," she said.
Ms Clare was certified as medically unfit for work by her GP, which led to her decision to resign. The tribunal continues this morning.