Manager wins £23,600 over unfair sacking from Greggs

A MANAGER has won a payout of £23,600 from Greggs after she was unfairly dismissed for allegedly giving away a packet of scones worth £1.50 to a pensioner.

Suzanne Hamilton had worked with the popular chain for 26 years as a shop manager when she was forced to resign in December last year after she was accused of stealing.

She told an employment hearing in Glasgow that the alleged incident happened in the Castlemilk shop on 7 October last year.

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The worker had arrived at her work early to sort out the staff rotas when she was distracted by several raised voices at the front of the shop.

When she went to investigate she saw that an 80-year-old man was trying to give coins over the counter but assistant manager Marie McGannigle was shouting at him.

Miss Hamilton, 46, recognised him as he visited the shop every day and he often brought bags of coins as the shop struggled to get change.

She immediately saw that the elderly man, who was hard of hearing, was distressed by the shouting so she tried to ease the situation by taking the pound coins and giving him the scones.

She then returned to the back shop, counted the coins, put them in the safe and left the pensioner's change in the back shop to give to him when he returned.

But the following week, area manager Stephanie Meechan took Miss Hamilton into the office and asked her if she had given the customer the four scones. She admitted she had, but said she had paid for them.

She was later told that she was suspended following an investigation and was later taken to a disciplinary hearing over her failure to follow cash and security procedures.

This resulted in her being demoted to a senior team member and she was told to either accept it or resign.

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Miss Hamilton appealed the decision in a letter to Alan Greenshields, head of retail.

She stated: "I am appealing against Douglas Hanning's decision to demote me to senior sales. I feel it's harsh.

"I have been with the company for 26 years with a clean record."

Mr Greenshield's decision was to uphold the appeal, but Miss Hamilton did not take up the position and she resigned on 23 December.

She said in her resignation letter: "I feel I have no alternative but to resign after the way I have been treated."

Employment judge Muriel Robison said: "The tribunal found the claimant to be a truthful witness in all respects.

"The respondent's position was that there was no record of the claimant having paid for the scones.

"This was based on printouts from the tills on the day in question. However, we did not find those records to be reliable or comprehensive."