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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Sainsbury’s to pay £10,000 for wrongfully dismissing coffee drinker

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Sainsbury's will have to pay out around £10,000 in lost earnings and severance pay to a worker whom it sacked after leaving the store for just two minutes to find money for a coffee.

According to the Daily Mail, Steven Tyler, who had worked as a baker at the supermarket for 11 years before being dismissed for leaving his post during a night shift, won the compensation after winning his claim for wrongful dismissal.
 
He had worked at a store in Kidderminster, before being transferred to another in Amblecote, Stourbridge while the shop underwent a refurbishment.
 
Half-way through his shift on 24 August last year, however, Tyler claimed to have asked permission from his line manager to fetch his coat from a friend’s car, which was parked in the store’s car park.
 
But when he returned, the manager questioned his absence and denied that such permission had been given, an offence that he said amounted to “gross misconduct”.
 
“I was the subject of a disciplinary, where CCTV was used showing me walking into the car park, which I never disputed. But they claimed I was guilty of gross misconduct and I was sacked,” Tyler said.
 
What he found “most galling”, however, was that Sainsbury’s had a policy that allowed smokers to take “fag breaks”, but “when I asked and got permission to get some change for a cuppa, I got fired,” he added.
 
Tyler, who is married with two young sons and a step-daughter, now works in what he described as a “dead-end” job at a vacuum packing factory in Kidderminster because no one else would take him on.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “To ensure that everyone who works on the night shift is safe, we ask our colleagues to seek permission before they leave the store. However, we accept that we applied the rules too vigorously on this occasion."

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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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