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Butcher who got chop from Tesco wins a €35k payment

A BUTCHER has won more than €35,000 damages against Tesco Ireland Ltd for unfair dismissal.

The civil court heard his dismissal came after he questioned the quality of meat he should grind up and label as round steak mince

Barrister Sarah Berkeley, counsel for 59-year-old John McGough, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday Tesco managers had questioned his decision to reduce the price of certain cuts and keep some for his wife to buy at the discounted price.

Ms Berkeley said the price of meat was reduced at certain times in the Artane, Dublin branch of Tesco on a daily basis and it was customary for staff to avail of the opportunity to buy all classes of discounted goods.

She told Judge Jacqueline Linnane Mr McGough, of Elm Mount Road, Dublin, was initially suspended on full pay and was dismissed in April 2008.

He had sued the company through the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which had decided in his favour and awarded him €23,000 for unfair dismissal, together with €5,000 in lieu of notice.

Ms Berkeley, who appeared with solicitor Thomas Loomes, said Mr McGough would prefer to have his old job back and had appealed the tribunal's compensation only award to the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Linnane, increasing Mr McGough's compensation by €7,500 to a total of €35,500 with costs, said Tesco, which did not call any evidence at yesterday's appeal, had accepted the ruling of the tribunal.

The judge said his dismissal was related to the labelling of meat and the reduction in prices of the meat sold to his wife and she felt it would be inappropriate to reinstate him in his old job as the relationship between Mr McGough and Tesco had broken down.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal had not accepted that Tesco's investigation process of the incident had been sufficiently thorough and focussed and found there was a lack of clarity regarding procedures for staff serving family members.