Supervisor at KFC awarded €31,000 over unfair dismissal

Joshua Jones sacked over alleged irregularities over sales of ‘Kream Balls’ dessert

 Joshua Jones, a supervisor at a KFC franchise, was sacked in 2014 in a decision the Employment Appeals Tribunal  found to be “disproportionate” and unfair. File photograph: Getty Images

Joshua Jones, a supervisor at a KFC franchise, was sacked in 2014 in a decision the Employment Appeals Tribunal found to be “disproportionate” and unfair. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A supervisor at a KFC outlet who lost his job concerning alleged irregularities over sales of a type of dessert has been awarded €31,000 for his unfair dismissal.

Supervisor Joshua Jones was sacked in 2014 in a decision the Employment Appeals Tribunal has found to be “disproportionate” and unfair.

Mr Jones was initially dismissed concerning the alleged misappropriation of funds totalling €263 and a breach of company procedures in relation to cash handling mainly concerning “Kream Balls”.

When Mr Jones lodged an internal appeal against the decision by Dublin based KFC franchisee firm Scotco Eastern (Ireland) Limited to sack him, the company withdrew the charge concerning the misappropriation of the €263 - but the dismissal stood.

The firm, now renamed Scotco ROI Ltd, is owned by Belfast businesswoman Leslie Herbert, who with husband Michael Herbertruns franchised KFC operations in Ireland and the UK.

Mr Jones was employed by the KFC firm since 2006 at its fast food restaurant at Newbridge and was appointed as a supervisor in a new drive-thru restaurant.

According to the tribunal report, after a period at the new drive-thru, difficulties arose concerning staffing levels and management structures, with matters eventually coming to a head.

Alleged irregularities

In September 2014, the company carried out an investigation into alleged cash irregularities. This eventually led to Mr Jones’s dismissal concerning the alleged irregularities.

According to the tribunal, the KFC firm stated that irregularities showed up such as “invalid voids/refunds” indicating no sales and “these related predominantly to a product called Kream Balls”.

The tribunal stated that Mr Jones was described in evidence as “an honest and loyal worker” and that the evidence in general disclosed that there were staff difficulties which severely impacted on him.

The tribunal stated that when staff were absent on sick leave or on holidays, they were not always replaced, leaving Mr Jones “to work long, unreasonable and unsociable hours”.

The case was heard over two days in Dublin in November.

Severe conditions

The tribunal found that the severe and unreasonable conditions which Mr Jones had to endure, mainly as a result of short-staffing and management structures, more than outweighed any perceived irregularities.

The tribunal stated that having regard to the fact the first and most serious charge of misappropriation of funds had been withdrawn, this should have been reflected in the sanction imposed.

The tribunal added that the penalty imposed, having regard to the totality of the prevailing circumstances in the case, was disproportionate.

It found the KFC firm had not established the onus of proof necessary as prescribed under statute in the case and awarded Mr Jones €31,000 for the unfair dismissal.