Tesco worker awarded €41,000 for eating unpaid for breakfast

Lisa Kinsella, a long-serving Tesco worker, was sacked for eating a cooked breakfast on two consecutive days and not paying for them immediately at the till, all of which was caught on CCTV.

Ms. Kinsella, who had worked for Tesco for over 12 years and had an exemplary work record, said in her defence at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) that she had paid for her food at a later date and this had been common practice, as staff in the canteen were not allowed to carry cash while working.  She also said that, had she been told that what she was doing was against company policy, she would have stopped.

In its determination, the EAT found that there was a practice of paying later and, ‘accordingly, there was implied authority granted to the claimant (Ms. Kinsella)”.  They also found that this practice arose out of necessity due to the rule about carrying a purse while on duty and awarded Tesco to pay compensation in the sum of €41,000.

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