Ex-garda awarded €7k for unfair dismissal after ‘sting’

A FORMER garda who worked as a car park attendant has been awarded €7,000 for unfair dismissal after his employer mounted a sting operation.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) said Ted Dineen, from Shandon Street, Cork, had been unfairly dismissed because his employers, the Kenny Group (C) Limited, Kenny Group House, Carrigrohane Road, Cork, did not follow proper and fair procedures.

The Kenny Group is involved in the running of two car parks in Cork city – on the Grand Parade and on St Patrick’s Quay.

Mr Dineen started work as an attendant in the Grand Parade car park in February 2007.

The group’s managing director told the tribunal a system is in place whereby customers are charged €15 if they lose their parking ticket, or €5 if they are regulars. However, dockets used to record this did not always tally with the amount of money in the till.

Most attendants showed an over or under amount of cash of between €7 to €20 daily. But the only person who seemed to tally within €1 or €2 was Mr Dineen.

The managing director said he became concerned about Mr Dineen’s work in March 2008. He said when Mr Dineen was on leave in May 2008, the cash was over or under €10 to €20. When Mr Dineen returned, the tills tallied again between €1 or €2.

He said he had given the claimant written warnings in the past related to time-keeping and alleged abusive behaviour towards customers.

A sting operation was mounted and €10 was planted in a till while Mr Dineen was on duty. He did not declare he was €10 over that evening.

A total of €17 was planted on another occasion and it was not declared. On a third occasion, €50 was planted but the evening’s takings were down €2.

Mr Dineen was summoned to a meeting on December 8, 2008, and the evidence was put to him.

The managing director told the hearing that Mr Dineen admitted everything and said everyone had a weakness and that greed was a terrible thing. Mr Dineen later denied mentioned anything about greed.

The MD wrote to Mr Dineen on December 11 and said because of his admission of guilt and in accordance with the company’s policies and procedures, he was being dismissed for gross misconduct.

But Mr Dineen told the tribunal that the tills never balanced. He said he had no advance knowledge of what the meeting on December 8 was about and that it was the first time the tickets issue was put to him.

He said he was informed of the “stings,” was told his balancing of the takings was too good, and he was being let go on that basis.

The tribunal found that the claimant was dismissed unfairly as the respondent did not follow proper and fair procedures, and it awarded €7,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts.


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