A Poundland store manager was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed when she was fired for allegedly stealing a drink, Norwich Employment Tribunal has ruled.
Miss Stokes was awarded £20,930.48 plus costs after employment judge Postle found that the discount chain had no reasonable basis for its belief of her supposed misconduct and followed a flawed investigation process.
Stokes worked at Poundland from 2009 as an assistant manager and later store manager. She was successful in her role until a new area sales manager joined in 2015.
In June 2017, an area sales manager, Ian Jones, and the acting store manager entered Stokes’ office without warning to investigate an allegation that she had taken drinks from the damaged stock area. She was told that CCTV footage showed her consuming the drinks, although she was only shown a few seconds of her walking with a drink in her hand.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott from Consensus HR comments “This case held at the Employment Tribunal (ET) – Norwich – Case Number: 3327953/2017 in April this year demonstrates how companies still get it wrong when dealing with discipline in the workplace. Too many times management fail to act in a reasonable manner and take the correct / necessary steps. The ACAS Code of Practice clearly details how these should be done professionally, fairly & reasonably and can be obtained easily on the internet.
An Investigation is a key vital step that needs to be taken at all times prior to any action being taken and needs to be thorough taking into account the allegation. Managers / Business owners need to make clear what the allegation is and what area of a fair reason this constitutes. Is it Conduct, Capability, Performance, Some Other Substantial Reason, Compulsory Bar, Redundancy and list this in all correspondence. This helps to ensure everybody is aware of the allegation whilst allowing a full / comprehensive investigation to take place.”
Miriam Kenner of People Management discusses further: