by Gordon Deegan
A warehouse manager in a company, where another employee stole chemicals from the warehouse and put them up for sale on eBay, has lost his case for constructive dismissal.
In the case, the employee who stole the chemicals stated that he acted alone and as part of the Garda investigation, Gardai interviewed a number of staff members but stated that no one else had a case to answer.
Six months later however, the company’s warehouse manager was invited by his employer to attend a series of six ‘investigative’ meetings regarding issues around the earlier stock losses.
The warehouse manager stated that the tone of these meetings was "accusatory" and "aggressive" by management.
The meetings were followed in January 2017 by a series of disciplinary meetings culminating in the suspension on full pay of the warehouse manager in February 2017.
One month later, the warehouse manager was placed on a final written warning which was to stand for 12 months.
The man argued that his suspension was a clear penalty and gave rise to huge reputation damage to him in a small local community.
He said that it was, in effect, the imposition of a major sanction, before any processes had been completed and caused him “considerable stress and anxiety”.
The warehouse manager stated that the final written warning decision and the subsequent failed appeal hearing, left him with no reasonable option but to resign his position.
In response, the firm stated that a very serious stock loss had arisen at the company and the person charged by Gardai had admitted his guilt.
The firm stated that the warehouse manager was responsibility for stock and it was fair and proper for the company to carry out a thorough investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the considerable stock losses.
The company stated that the rights of the warehouse manager was scrupulously observed and that the investigation and disciplinary processes had been thorough and professional.
The company stated that the final written warning was proportionate and that the suspension had been a proportionate step.
The firm stated that the action of the warehouse manager in tendering his resignation was unwarranted and that it was a completely unnecessary step particularly where the employer had always held him in a high regard and was anxious that he return to work.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Michael McEntee stated that the company decision to suspend the warehouse manager was “probably an unnecessary precaution”.
However, Mr McEntee said that warehouse manager's claim for constructive dismissal is not found to well-grounded and is dismissed.