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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Cinema Fined $25,000 For Firing Someone Undercharging For A Hot Dog (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Cinema Fined $25,000 For Firing Someone Undercharging For A Hot Dog
Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1869
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 10-21-2014 04:00 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fox News

quote: "Fox News"

Hot dog! Dublin cinema that fired worker for discounted snack ordered to pay more than $25,000
Published October 16, 2014
Associated Press

DUBLIN – An Irish cinema may have just bought the world's most expensive hot dog for an unfairly fired worker.

Ireland's employment appeals court on Thursday ordered Dublin's Cineworld to pay Carl Meade 20,000 euros ($25,640) for canning him over his illicit discount on a workplace snack.

Cineworld said it used surveillance footage to show Meade buying an extra-large hot dog, but paying only for a regular, and taking a slightly pricier brand of candy than what appeared on his signed receipt.

The total difference in cost between what he bought, and what he consumed? One euro ($1.28).

A three-judge panel found that the employer should have considered Meade's contention that he'd made an innocent mistake.

Meade worked three years for Cineworld before his 2012 dismissal for gross misconduct.

I really don't know what to say to this one. I'm not sure who I agree with.

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Frank Cox
Film God

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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 10-21-2014 04:17 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think he compounded the offence when he said that he made an "innocent mistake".

An innocent mistake is underpaying for the hot dog. Underpaying for the hot dog AND the candy both isn't an innocent mistake.

If he had confessed, apologized and paid what he owed for that and any and all previous "mistakes", I *might* be more sympathetic to his cause. As it is, not so much.

Fired For Cause doesn't seem particularly unreasonable.

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Rick Raskin
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 - posted 10-21-2014 05:05 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm inclined to agree with Frank. Theft is theft no matter how you color it. Fox news makes it appear that it was only 1 Euro, so no big deal. Regardless, I'd bet there was a track record with the employee that warranted investigation and the subsequent dismissal..

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 10-21-2014 05:59 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Article
A three-judge panel found that the employer should have considered Meade's contention that he'd made an innocent mistake.
So presumably if the employer had considered Meade's contention and then rejected it (i.e. stated explicitly that it did not believe him), the firing would have been legal?

I suspect that there are relevant facts we're not being told in this story. Cineworld wouldn't have had someone spending a lot of time going through CCTV tapes over just €1.

European Union law can be quite spectacularly stupid, but surely Brussels hasn't banned employers from firing employees who deliberately and premeditatedly steal from them?!

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Allan Barnes
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From: GRAND BEND, ONTARIO, CANADA
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 - posted 10-21-2014 07:20 PM      Profile for Allan Barnes   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Barnes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree - but I bet there is more to this story.

a) The Employee hired Denny Crane to defend him.

b) This ROBIN HOOD OF THE SNACK BAR has been secretly fighting high concessions price for years.

c) The Consumer was a starving but attractive Supermodel.

AND just how much was this SNACK BAR GUY making an hour.

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David Buckley
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From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
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 - posted 10-21-2014 08:16 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Looking a bit deeper than the news report, and having lived in the UK for a while, and thus understanding a bit about how this stuff works...

A reasonable report appears in The Irish Herald, the salient bit of which is:

quote:
The operations manager told the hearing that any discrepancy between what was signed for by the staff member and the actual goods received was viewed as a breach of policy.

It was both the original decision-maker's and the appeal decision-maker's view that the breach of policy by Mr Meade amounted to gross misconduct and merited dismissal.

In its decision, just published, the tribunal found that Mr Meade was unfairly dismissed.

It pointed to the evidence of both the original decision-maker and the person who heard the appeal that the mere fact that there was a breach of the policy in relation to staff discounted purchases meant that an act of gross misconduct had occurred and that dismissal was the appropriate sanction.

Also, from Terence J. O'Sullivan Solicitors (warning - annoying site with popups)

quote:
The Claimant also submitted that he did not receive a copy of the Staff Discount Policy, and did not realise the serious implications of such a breach of this policy.
So, the employee should have been fired, as the Americans put it, "for cause". However, the employer failed to be a good employer and thus got fined a lot of money instead. A good employer would have a process in place to make sure the employees are aware of all policies to which they are subject, with evidence, and also have a meaningful employment resolution process.

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Allan Barnes
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 - posted 10-21-2014 11:56 PM      Profile for Allan Barnes   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Barnes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So in conclusion - because the EMPLOYER didn't tell the EMPLOYEE not to steal... its the employers fault.

MADNESS

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 10-27-2014 06:44 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Whoever fires an otherwise good employee because of mistakes compounding to a loss or rather missed revenue of a whopping €1 is a total douche.

So, like others already mentioned, there is very likely much more to the story than the dumbed-down FOX News version, they were most likely looking for a way to get rid of him. Otherwise the employer deserved to get his/her ass handed to him/her, not because he/she is right or wrong, because he/she is stupid and blatantly wasting resources.

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Randy Stankey
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 - posted 10-27-2014 07:18 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why didn't they do like every other theater does and just cut his hours down to Sunday night, closing shift, until the guy gets fed up and quits?

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David Buckley
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 - posted 10-27-2014 11:24 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In Europe, that would be called "constructive dismissal", and you'd get bollocked for that too.

This all sounds like a nightmare, but it's not: All that is required is that one needs to be is a decent employer, with reasonable policies, that are communicated to employees, and when there are disputes, one acts reasonably. They is being an employer 101, don't be an arse. If an employer can't manage to not be an arse then they deserve to be fined $25K or whatever.

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Randy Stankey
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 - posted 10-28-2014 12:17 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You haul the guy into the office, show him the video recordings, put the computer printouts on the desk in front of him and say, "This will not happen again. Will it?"

The second time it happens, the guy is placed on shifts where management can keep him under closer supervision. It can't be Friday or Saturday. The theater is too busy. Night shifts, when business is slow, are the logical times when managers have more time to supervise problematic employees.

Yes, he is a problematic employee. I have it on record. I have video recordings. I have computer printouts. I have the disciplinary write ups..

At this point, if the guy makes another mistake, it's a mandatory three day vacation. He's had his three strikes and if it happens again, that's all she wrote.

"Putting him on night shift" is basically shorthand for all of that.

If the guy doesn't like that, he's not obliged to keep working here. That's what "employment at will" means.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 10-28-2014 01:24 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy,

I do not believe your US sense of employment applies to other countries and cultures.

I will say, from experience in a prior job, it goes a long way to have employee records of all discussions with the employee regarding policy and any perception of infraction of company policy. If such records are applied in a uniform manner, dismissal for cause will go much easier.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 10-28-2014 03:02 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So one of two things happened.

Scenario A - the manager overreacted and canned this individual without following the procedure to the letter, there being no other history of problems involving this guy.

Scenario B - the employee was considered a problem for other reasons, and they were looking for an excuse (with some sort of hard evidence) to can him.

However, the overriding aspect of this to me is that there was clearly a premeditated attempt by the employee to deceive his employer. The fact that the amount of money involved is just €1 is to me irrelevant: the relevant point is that after discovering the deception, the employer has a valid reason to claim that there can no longer be a trusting professional relationship between the two.

On the Europe/US issue, I agree with Steve. As someone who has worked in Europe and the US, there are clear differences in the culture and law relating to employment. Europe has a huge legal infrastructure related to employment that sits between informal negotiation and a full-scale lawsuit. In the UK it's called "employment tribunals". When they work well, they enable disputes of minor to intermediate significance to be worked out relatively efficiently, but the downside is that they can be abused by troublemakers, the workshy etc. to exact revenge on employers. In the US (or in California, at least), the impression I get is that there is no formal mechanism for resolving disputes between an employer and employee short of a full-scale lawsuit (unless the workplace is unionized), meaning that troublemakers/workshy have much less of a free ride, but that innocent victims of bad employers have very few options besides the nuclear one.

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 10-28-2014 07:48 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In most of Europe, employment laws are indeed rather strict. Once you give someone a fixed contract, you're usually not able to dismiss someone for whatever reason you please. If you want to get rid of somebody, you should start documenting. You should start to give formal warnings and document those too.

None of the linked documents clearly state that he intended to deceive his employer. Also, one article clearly states:

quote:
The Claimant had a good working record with the Respondent up to the date of the incident which led to his dismissal.
So, either this was just "on paper" (which actually counts during a lawsuit), or there is more to the story.

And I rather doubt any judge will see a one-time error of about €1 as gross misconduct, especially without proof of any previous misconducts. Everybody who has worked in retail/catering businesses know that similar mistakes happen to everybody now and then, but often also in favor of the employer.

Something I don't get, but maybe this is some Irish thing: Employees are required to sign each receipt? Is this according to some local law? It really doesn't sound practical...

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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 - posted 10-29-2014 12:04 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From the news article, which may not be entirely an accurate or complete accounting of what happened, it seems that this was purposeful theft, not a mistake. If that is indeed what really happened, I don't understand why that was not grounds for immediate dismissal. You should not have to train or warn people in advance not to steal, that should just be common sense.

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