Dunnes Stores boss secretly monitored his staff for 77 days
DUNNES STORES monitored workers on CCTV at a restaurant in one of its stores for 77 days without telling them.
A security man monitored the behaviour of staff at the restaurant almost exclusively and reported his findings daily to the store manager.
As a result of the monitoring, two members of staff at the Dunnes outlet in Terryland, Galway, were dismissed. Two others quit, an Employment Appeals Tribunal was told yesterday.
One of the dismissed workers, Katarzyna Rozbicka, took an unfair dismissal case and claimed that she was being bullied by another employee.
She also alleged that she was subsequently "ambushed" at a hearing set up by the store management to investigate her behaviour at the restaurant.
Ms Rozbicka, of Sceilg Ard, Headford Road, Galway, worked at the Terryland store for three years until her dismissal on October 29, 2009.
Through her solicitor, Ms Rozbicka claimed yesterday that she had not been given a chance to properly represent herself at either an investigatory hearing or a disciplinary hearing.
Store manager Ken Flanagan said he had become concerned at the level of customer service at the restaurant in 2009. Ms Rozbicka had also made an allegation of bullying against another staff member, so he decided to have a security camera installed.
Dunnes Stores security officer Peter Zatorski said the women at the restaurant were not told they were being monitored.
The monitoring started around August 2009 and on October 23 Ms Rozbicka was called to a meeting.
Yesterday's hearing was told the meeting was to investigate breaches of company policies in respect of food hygiene, clocking-in and company purchases.
HR manager Pauline Gillen told the hearing that Ms Rozbicka had broken down when asked if she had consumed food without paying for it and had apologised. She also admitted breaches of company policy in respect of clocking-in and food hygiene, Ms Gillen said.
Mr Flanagan said that he had observed CCTV footage of Ms Rozbicka taking off her shoes and socks and rubbing her feet while near a food-preparation area. When shown the footage, she said little other than "I'm disgusted" and "I can't believe I've done that".
Dawn Carney, solicitor for Ms Rozbicka, said her client would tell the tribunal that she had taken off her shoes but was wearing fine pop-socks and had not taken those off. She had also washed her hands afterwards.
In reply to the tribunal, Mr Flanagan agreed that when he subsequently wrote to Ms Rozbicka he had not mentioned her right to appeal her dismissal.
Nor had the company given her either a verbal or a written warning.
In response to tribunal chairman John Fahy, Mr Flanagan said it was not Dunnes Stores' policy to put allegations in writing to employees.
The hearing was adjourned.