judge judgesBringing an iPad home, knowing it’s not yours but the company you work for? That resulted in an employee of KLM airline being fired with immediate effect. The 59-year-old man angrily went to court, but received no appeal. “This is a matter of seriously culpable conduct,” the verdict reads.
The man has been working for KCS, KLM’s official catering company, since 2001, and can therefore be seen as an experienced employee. In his last position he was involved in sorting trolleys and containers. Also on September 24, last year. That day he and a few colleagues were busy refilling a container. His colleague then came to him with an iPad he had found in a dumpster. It is not clear from the judgment published on Friday what kind of container it is.
The man took his colleague’s iPad and then took it home without informing his manager. “I know that when I find something I have to hand it over to my team leader. I didn’t do it this time because my colleague said I could take him home,” the man later told his employer. He responded inexorably. The man was immediately fired. In the resignation letter, the company referred to the man’s circumstances, including his long service and his personal circumstances, but this did not lead to a different decision.
Breadwinner young family
According to KCS, there is an urgent reason for dismissal because the employee ‘unlawfully appropriated’ the iPad. The company has known for at least 20 years that appropriating items without the permission of a manager means instant dismissal, even if the items are of low value. The employee knew about this strict rule, according to his employer.
The employee admits that he should not have taken the iPad home with him, and that he should have given it to his team leader. He says he suspected it was a broken iPad that the owner had parted with. Now the man says he made an error of judgment. He emphasizes that he has no ill will and that he has been functioning well for 21 years. He also points out that he is 59 years old and the breadwinner of a young family and that it is difficult to find another job given his age.
The action has permanently damaged the relationship between KCS and the employee, the judge said. The nature and seriousness of the employee’s behaviour, coupled with the nature of his position, mean that KCS could not have opted for a less drastic measure. In addition, it is not a fountain pen or a notepad, but an iPad. An iPad undeniably represents a certain value and is intended to store data that is not intended for anyone else.
The employee was therefore rightly dismissed according to the court and will therefore not be paid any back wages. However, he must bear the costs of the proceedings.
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