10 May Truck driver summarily fired for carrying two cans of soda
Truck driver summarily fired
The truck driver joined the employer on July 1, 2003. Beginning in 2004, the truck driver received written warnings almost annually for, among other things, taking goods from the employer without permission, intentionally dawdling while performing work, turning in weekly reports late, and dangerous driving. On June 30, 2022, the truck driver received a final warning for dangerous driving with a pallet truck, being unavailable for on-call work and during illness and driving unnecessarily long routes.
On Nov. 14, 2022, the truck driver was summarily dismissed for taking two cans of soft drinks from the cafeteria refrigerator on Nov. 11, 2022, which the employer claimed were not intended for the truck driver. The employer argued that this incident could not be separated from the earlier written warnings. This latest incident with the two soda cans was the straw that broke the camel’s back, according to the employer. The truck driver sought an award of compensation for the irregular termination and transition pay.
The truck driver did not dispute taking the cans, but indicated that he did not know he was not allowed to take them. The subdistrict court ruled that the truck driver’s position was not credible, as camera footage showed the truck driver surreptitiously taking the two cans. In addition, the employer’s company regulations state that cans of soft drinks can be purchased from the soft drink vending machine, and the truck driver knew that the refrigerator in question was for the stand personnel and not the drivers. The district judge ruled that the truck driver’s conduct was highly indecent.
That the taking of the two cans is a minor act and the employer does not have a zero tolerance policy does not preclude a successful summary dismissal. The district judge emphasized that throughout his employment, the truck driver had already received numerous warnings for consistently failing to comply with work instructions, and he received a clear final warning as icing on the cake.
The district judge ruled that this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and upheld the summary dismissal. The truck driver’s requests were denied. The truck driver is not entitled to compensation.
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