Minor infraction? | Sainsbury's worker of 20 years fired over 30p bag furore

Sainsbury's worker of 20 years fired over 30p bag furore

A long-serving Sainsbury's employee found himself at the centre of controversy after being caught on CCTV taking bags for life without paying.

Niamke Doffou, who had dedicated nearly two decades to the supermarket chain, faced the grim reality of unemployment following his dismissal for gross misconduct.

The saga began during a routine shopping trip at Romford Sainsbury's Superstore in August 2022. Mr. Doffou, a night shift assistant, opted for the 'zero bags used' option at the self-service checkout as he concluded his purchase after a gruelling night's work.

However, CCTV footage revealed a different narrative as it captured Mr. Doffou making multiple trips to obtain bags for his shopping, despite selecting the option indicating no bags were used.

Upon discovery of this discrepancy, Mr. Doffou was summoned before company executives, where he professed exhaustion and claimed ignorance regarding his actions.

Despite his explanations, Sainsbury's management deemed his behaviour as dishonest and a breach of trust, leading to his swift dismissal for gross misconduct.

Subsequent legal proceedings saw Mr. Doffou contesting his termination, arguing that his dismissal was unjust.

However, in a recent ruling, the Employment Tribunal sided with Sainsbury's, asserting that the evidence, including CCTV footage and receipts, irrefutably demonstrated Mr. Doffou's actions.

Employment Judge Eleena Misra K.C, presiding over the case, underscored the significance of trust in the employment relationship, stating, "The key thing was to understand why he did so, and that was achieved by allowing him every opportunity to explain his admitted actions."

Despite Mr. Doffou's claims of fatigue and unawareness, the tribunal concluded that his conduct constituted theft, thereby justifying his dismissal.

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The ruling serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of employee misconduct, even within the context of seemingly minor infractions.

While Mr. Doffou's case may raise questions regarding the proportionality of the punishment relative to the offense, it underscores the importance of upholding standards of integrity and trust in the workplace.

As Mr. Doffou navigates the aftermath of his dismissal, the incident prompts reflection on the broader implications for both employers and employees in maintaining ethical conduct and fostering a culture of accountability within the workforce.

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