Poundland employee “unfairly dismissed” after giving away stock
An employment tribunal has ruled that a Poundland employee was unfairly dismissed after giving away over £300 worth of products to customers.
The employee, Mr Zia, joined the company in June 2013 and worked his way up to assistant manager of the Southall store.
As a senior member of the shop team, Mr Zia had the authority to give away free items to smooth over complaints and to encourage customers to spend more money.
Mr Zia gave away more than £300 worth of products over a five-month period. His manager gave away only one pound’s worth of stock, and most colleagues averaged around £70.
An investigation into Mr Zia’s conduct was carried out but an official report was not written. Instead the case was escalated to a disciplinary hearing. Poundland claimed the button to give away items for free had been discontinued and should no longer have been used. Mr Zia and his colleagues claimed this policy change had not been communicated to them.
The investigating officer made the decision to sack Mr Zia, who then brought claims of unfair dismissal, victimisation, race discrimination and harassment.
The tribunal discounted all claims except unfair dismissal, for which it ruled in Mr Zia’s favour.
In his summary Judge Manley said: “Poundland has no one to blame but itself for the very poor methods of communication. Poundland needed to be clear about what the misconduct was. The evidence on how or when the free item button was stopped is opaque and inconsistent.”
The amount of compensation will be set at a separate hearing.
Please contact Toni Hudson if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.