A court has ruled that a Dillard’s department store that fired a dock worker after he ate two leftover hotdogs from a company picnic was unjustified in doing so and must pay him unemployment benefits, the Evansville Courier & Press reports.
The dock manager had ordered that the hotdogs from the 2007 4th of July cookout were to be saved in the fridge for Labor Day, but the employee claimed he didn’t hear this. Surveillance footage showed the dock worker later eating the hotdogs. He was called into the manager’s office where he confessed he ate the hot dogs. After a police officer was called, the employee was given a choice of signing a statement that he had stolen the hotdogs or face a night in jail. He signed the statement and was then fired.
The court ruled that eating the hotdogs did not reach the level of “just cause,” nor did it disqualify the employee from receiving unemployment benefits.
In its opinion, the court wrote, “The record reveals that employees had been offered hamburgers and hot dogs for consumption; it does not reveal that the rescission of this offer of celebratory food was in fact communicated to Koewler.”
The ex-employee told the Evansville Courier Press that the ordeal had taught him a lesson. “Just believe in the justice system,” he said. “It proves that it does work, even for something as little as that.”
Court: Axing Evansville worker who took hot dogs from company picnic unjustified [Evansville Courier & Press] (Thanks to GitEmSteveDave!)