Regency Hotel waiter sacked for debiting €255 to his account
Arkadiusz Baranski ‘messing’ when funds transferred, Employment Appeals Tribunal told
Arkadiusz Baranski, of Parklands, Northwood, Santry, was dismissed from the Regency Hotel last August for gross misconduct following an incident on the morning of July 23rd, 2015. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
A waiter at a Dublin restaurant lost his job after he debited €255 to his bank account while “messing” with a card machine, a tribunal has heard.
Giving evidence to an Employment Appeals Tribunal, then human resources manager of the Regency Hotel, David Doran, said Mr Baranski had been setting up for breakfast for 300 guests between 5am and 6am that day when a refund of €255.55 was issued to his debit card via the hotel’s card machine.
Mr Doran said that as a waiter it was not within Mr Baranski’s remit to put transactions through the card machine, nor did he ultimately have the authority to do so.
He said breakfasts are included in guests’ packages so there is never any need to use the machine at that time of day.
“There was five opportunities to cancel the transaction… it’s pretty evident and clear what happened,” he told the hearing.
The tribunal heard Mr Baranski told hotel management about the refund when he returned for an evening shift at 4pm on the same day, and that it was successfully cancelled.
Mr Baranski’s superiors construed his use of the card machine to process a refund as an act of gross misconduct, and he was summarily dismissed in August 2015.
Mr Baranski’s legal team argue that the transaction was unintentional and did not constitute a deliberate attempt to steal money from his employer.
Reading notes from a subsequent internal investigation instituted by the hotel, Mr Doran said Mr Baranski informed management that he was curious as to how the card machine worked and did not think it was enabled to validate transactions on the morning in question.
He had worked for the hotel for almost nine years up to the incident, and counsel for Mr Baranski estimated that he suffered almost €8,000 in lost earnings between the date of dismissal and him finding new employment elsewhere in December 2015.
In an unusual turn of events, tribunal chair Orna Madden rebuked representatives of the Regency Hotel for what she deemed to be unclear investigation, disciplinary and dismissal policies carried in its official documents.
“You seemed to engage in a watered-down investigation you were half committed to,” she said to Mr Doran, before saying of the hotel’s employee handbook: “I cannot understand for the life of me what this handbook was trying to say or get at.”
Ms Madden was referring in particular to the decision by hotel management to send notes of its internal investigation to Mr Baranski on August 6th, accompanied by a notice of summary dismissal.
Mr Baranski then appealed the findings of the investigation, but his attempts at reinstatement were unsuccessful.
Clare O’Shea, acting as counsel for Mr Baranski, said she believed there had been “fundamental breaches in procedure” on behalf of Regency management during the dismissal process.
The case was adjourned and will sit again on November 8th.