Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Never in my life have I been treated like this' - Boots worker wants name cleared

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Liz Farsaci

A former Boots employee who was fired for breaching company policy said today she is not looking for compensation and is simply looking to have her name cleared.

“I’ve been working since I was 16, and never in my life have I been treated like this,” Carol Casey told the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). “I bent over backwards for Boots but I was happy to do it because I loved the job and I loved my colleagues."

An EAT hearing in Dublin heard that Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd dismissed Carol Casey, who worked as a health care advisor at the Naas branch, on a number of grounds in 2015.

These grounds included that she processed her own transaction without the most senior member of staff present and that she gave herself a cash refund, which was against store policy when a receipt is unavailable.

The company also claimed that Ms Casey refunded herself a greater amount, €109, than the item was originally bought for, as it was sold for a lower price as part of a Christmas sale. The company further claimed that she served her daughter on a separate occasion, when it is against company policy to serve family members.

Aisling McDevitt, industrial relations executive for IBEC, which was representing Boots, told the hearing that these breaches were deemed significant enough to warrant dismissal. Ms Casey, who worked for the company for five years, disagreed.

Ms Casey explained to the hearing that her husband had given her an Instyler hair product for Christmas, but that she had wanted to return it.

She said she brought it into work and asked one of her colleagues to conduct the refund, but her colleague felt uncomfortable doing so as she did not know the correct procedure.

Ms Casey then said she would do it in the presence of this colleague, as she herself knew the correct procedure. She said she did not know the item was purchased at a sale price.

She added that she served her daughter on one occasion because her daughter was collecting a prescription, and there were no one else to serve her, as the shop was short-staffed.

“I don’t believe I deserved that treatment,” Ms Casey added. “I didn’t do anything wrong – I may have done something in haste but I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The chair of the hearing committee, Dermot MacCarthy, told Ms Casey, who was representing herself, that it was often customary for someone to bring a representative to advise and support them.

“I’m bringing the truth here today,” Ms Casey replied.

When Mr MacCarthy asked Ms Casey what she was hoping to get from the company, she replied: “I want my name cleared. That’s all – I just want my name cleared.”

When it became clear that this was all Ms Casey was seeking, the hearing was adjourned for a brief period.

Following the break, the parties announced that they had come to an agreement, and Ms Casey confirmed that she was withdrawing her claim.

Mr MacCarthy said this seemed to be “the best and most sensible approach” and commended both parties for their “wise” decision.

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