March 16, 2016

IKEA fined £23k for unfair dismissal

IKEA, the €29bn turnover Swedish flat pack furniture company, has been fined £23,000 by an employment tribunal for dismissing an employee for ‘stealing’ a milkshake (that cost 97p).

 

The employee was dismissed from his role in the café at the IKEA outlet after his manager saw him drink the milkshake without having paid for it and without putting the milkshake through the till system.

 

The employee was first suspended, then dismissed by the branch’s HR Manager on the basis that they considered the incident of theft of the milkshake to be ‘gross misconduct’. Even though the employee did not agree with the dismissal, they did not appeal it internally as the employee had no faith in IKEA’s internal process. The employee confirmed that he had taken the milkshake without paying or putting it through the till but maintained that it was an honest mistake.

The Manager of the café explained to the tribunal that he had spotted the incident occur and went over to speak to the employee to find out if they were going to pay for the milkshake, to which the Manger said they he received an ‘inaudible response’.

The next day, the café Manager escorted the employee off sight while they investigated and took statements for fellow workers.

 

The employment tribunal ruled that given all the information they had been presented with and given the conversation at the time between the café Manager and the employee in question that the tribunal was not satisfied that the incidents amounted to ‘substantial ground justifying the dismissal’

 

The tribunal proceeded to offer the employee £23,000 in compensation.

 

IKEA are currently reviewing the situation as they are “very disappointed in the outcome’ of the tribunal having insisted that they have followed legislation as detailed in their Employee Handbook.

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