Maher v Aim Group

Judgment Date24 June 2005
Judgment citation (vLex)[2005] 6 JIEC 2401
Date24 June 2005
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Maher v Aim Group


EAT - Employment law - Alleged misconduct - Abuse of staff purchase scheme - Company procedures - Dismissal - Whether justified




Ann-Marie Maher, 35 Cherrywood Green, Ballyfermot

UD398/2004 MN333/2004

Dublin 10


Aim Group, Unit 20, Robinhood Industrial Estate,

Dublin 22




I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Ms. K. T. O'Mahony B.L


Mr F. Cunneen

Ms R. McArdle

heard this claim at Dublin on 30th September 2004

and 19th January 2005

Facts The claimant worked for the respondent cash and carry company and worked up to a senior position. The company had a scheme whereby employees could purchase goods at discount and avail of credit terms. It was noticed that the claimant had unusually high volume of purchases and the company instigated an enquiry which lead to her dismissal.

Held by the Tribunal: It is not the function of tribunals to determine on the innocence or guilt of alleged dishonesty but it is the function to examine both the reasonableness of the employer's decision to dismiss and whether the company's procedures were fail and in this case the tribunal found justification in the company's decision to dismiss the claimant.

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
Respondent's Case

The managing director of the respondent company who is one of its main shareholder and the checkout supervisor who is also responsible for the customer service desk and returns gave evidence on behalf of the respondent company.


The company sells toys, fancy goods and an assortment of electrical goods on a cash and carry basis. In September 1999 the claimant commenced work as a checkout operator and carded out her duties in that position for two years. She was then promoted to the position of assistant supervisor and had responsibility for till procedures at the checkouts. From there she progressed to the customer service desk and was responsible for customer relations; on a day-to-day basis she checked customers' trade passes to confirm their membership, checked-in faulty products and acted as relief supervisor at the checkouts. She bad a high level of responsibility.


Where feasible, faulty items are returned to the suppliers, otherwise such items as well as shop-soiled goods are sold as refurbished goods for which the product code is RFO2. The pricing of refurbished goods is at the discretion of two authorised employees (hereinafter John and Tony) who could reduce the price of such goods by a maximum of 20% of the original selling price but the price cannot be reduced to below cost price and an authorised person must go to the checkout with the purchaser of such goods to tell the cashier the reduced price. The reduced price is not put on the item. There is a camera at each checkout and all items have to be scanned in full view of the cameras. Records are kept for 365 days. Members of staff may buy items at the trade price and there is an additional 10% discount for staff members who have more than 6 months service with the company. The price of a refurbished good is manually catered into the till. Employees have staff accounts and are given a 30-day credit facility of up to Eur150 after 6 months' service and Eur300 after 2 years' service. The accounts system shows the total number of purchases made by an employee as well as the product code and the price at which each item is bought. When a member of staff purchases an item an invoice is generated which is held on a central computer system.


During an investigation into other irregularities it was noticed tat three employees, including the claimant, had a very high number of purchases under the RFO2 code. The claimant had made 16 purchases under the RFO2 code in a four-month period and the value and number of her purchases were greater than those of other employees or customers over the period.


The witness and the checkout supervisor spoke to the claimant at an...

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