Sacked for an 80c blank DVD

August 10th, 2011 at 11:18 am by David Farrar

Vaimoana Tapaleao at NZ Herald reports:

A man who took a blank DVD from his workplace for his own use has been found to have been justifiably fired from his job.

David Dumolo worked as an information technology technician for the Lakes District Health Board, helping hospital sites in Taupo and Rotorua.

In May last year he was dismissed from his job after he took a blank DVD, without permission, for his personal use.

My first reaction to this is that it was vast over-kill. Hell, I’m pretty sure I’ve taken the odd blank CD home in the distant past, just as I’ve sometimes taken a pen home.

A month before he lost his job, Mr Dumolo had gone into work on Saturday, April 24, to get a blank DVD.

On the day he took the DVD, another employee spotted Mr Dumolo and reported him to their manager.

This changes it somewhat. I would not go into work to grab something for personal use. I’d go to Dick Smith’s and buy it. If it was a “I was heading out the door and realised I need a blank CD and grabbed one from my desk” I think it would be less of an issue.

The Employment Relations Authority found that Mr Dumolo’s dismissal was justified.

His managers’ decision to fire him was fair in that in the seven months he had been working he had been given a formal warning and had been spoken to on several occasions about other incidents.

This I suspect is the major reason he was sacked. There had been other problems and they used the DVD as a catalyst to get him fired.

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26 Responses to “Sacked for an 80c blank DVD”

  1. ben (2,379 comments) says:

    Wow, what a misleading first line from the Herald. So he wasn’t sacked for an 80c DVD. He was sacked for an 80c DVD and a bunch of other stuff he had previously been warned about.

    Weird that media would exaggerate to give a misleading impression in favour of some preconceived view. Usually you can trust them not to grossly exaggerate in this way.

    /sarcasm

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  2. KH (695 comments) says:

    Well it’s the old story. it’s a buildup. And when do you decide enough is enough. When do you draw the line in the sand.

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  3. Griff (7,675 comments) says:

    MSM is bull shit personified I no longer watch the news or read the papers much better to get information of the net you can usually access all sides rather than be feed the media slant

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  4. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    So, he will be sending out his CV on disc then?

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    If only this level of propriety was expect from Member of Parliament.

    “The rules weren’t clear”, etc.

    If the rules weren’t clear why did they take the trip? Why did they claim the money?

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  6. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    I have read this decision and I have posted on it previously. The report is very misleading. There had been a number of unsatisfactory issues in relation to his employment. He had been given a warning. The newspaper report trivialises an issue that goes to trust and confidence which, of course, lies very much at the heart of any employment relationship. The biggest problem that this employee faced was that he was adamant that he had done nothing wrong and he had a sense of entitlement. If an employee refuses to accept that the employer’s property belongs to the employer and shows no contrition for removing it then it is very difficult for that employee to expect continued employment.

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  7. Lance (2,654 comments) says:

    Tend to agree
    The only issue worth noting is the employer consistent?

    I worked at an electronics manufacturer many moons ago. They operated on a tough but fair basis (as you do).
    Until one of the senior designers was annoyed the canteen had shut so he kicked down the doors and looted the fridge.

    Nothing happened to him as he was the linchpin in a design team close to releasing a new product.

    Went down like a shit sandwich with most people there. I see the dilemma though, if they had fired him then the damage to the company could be very great.
    The trouble was they told everyone (in various messages) they were a tough but fair employer.

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  8. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Its called theft as a servant and its a very serious offence. He should have just counted himself lucky he was only fired and not charged.

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  9. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    On the issue of individual stupidity. Stuff.co.nz is carrying a story today about a Palmerston North Coroner criticising on-line comments made about a 22 year-old who killed himself by driving into a tree at 110 kph, in a 50 kph zone.

    The comments on Yahoo described the driver as “Too much time on their hands, too much money in their pockets, too little work ethic and no ability to work hard … but contented to be stupid.”

    This idiot Coroner, Mr Tim Scott, excuses the deceased’s behaviour by saying “Mr Whakarau was “overly excited”, having bought the car that morning.” and “Mr Whakarau had smoked a cannabis joint about two hours before the crash but it was unlikely that it had “grossly affected” his judgment”

    With attitudes like that, I think this Coroner needs to rethink his suitability to enquire into deaths. Whakarau’s criminal actions in taking drugs and then driving at twice the posted speed limit placed the lives of innocent members of the public at risk. But not a word of criticism from Coroner Tim Scott.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/5418258/Coroner-criticises-unhelpful-online-comments

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  10. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Lance

    Fair enough, and I’m pretty sure it’s open to a sacked employee to demonstrate procedural unfairness by inconsistent treatment.

    Meanwhile, I’m unplugging my phone charger from the work socket.

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  11. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    Here is what the boss said

    [47] Mr Wheatley said his decision to dismiss Mr Dumolo was based on the
    following factors:
    n. Mr Dumolo’s relatively short period of employment;
    o. The number of issues which had arisen regarding Mr Dumolo’s
    attitude and interactions with others which suggested he lacked self
    awareness or insight into his behaviour, so was unlikely to respond to
    action short of dismissal;
    p. his unrepentant and dismissive attitude towards LDHB’s concerns;
    q. the nature of his position and in particular the access he had to
    sensitive and confidential material which required LDHB to have high
    levels of trust and confidence in him;
    r. the fact that he worked unassisted and unsupervised meant it was
    impossible for LDHB to monitor his activities whilst he was at wo

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  12. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    Here is what the ERA said

    [48] The s.103A justification test does not differentiate between aspects of a
    dismissal process, but it does require the employer’s actions, and how it acted, at each
    stage of the process to be assessed. The statutory good faith obligations contained in
    s.4 of the Act apply, and inform the decision under s.103A about whether LDHB’s
    actions, and how it acted, were objectively justified.
    [49] I find LDHB adopted a fair and proper process before it concluded serious
    misconduct had occurred and that dismissal was appropriate. It conducted a
    preliminary investigation, it then put specific disciplinary allegations to Mr Dumolo, it
    complied with its good faith obligations, it advised him of his right to have a support
    person, it gave him a genuine opportunity to respond to its concerns, and his
    explanation was properly considered before LDHB made a final decision.
    [50] A fair and reasonable employer would have concluded that Mr Dumolo had
    engaged in serious misconduct. The Rules of Conduct, which Mr Dumolo was provided with at the outset of his employment, identified unauthorised possession of
    LDHB property and dishonesty as serious misconduct.
    [51] Mr Dumolo admitted taking LDHB property, and LDHB was entitled to view
    that seriously. Mr Dumolo’s explanation for taking the DVD was unsatisfactory and
    LDHB was entitled to conclude that Mr Dumolo took the DVD for his own use and
    benefit, rather than for its benefit.
    [52] Notwithstanding the low value of the item, I find that a fair and reasonable
    employer would have concluded summary dismissal was appropriate in all the
    circumstances.
    [53] Mr Dumolo had only been employed for seven months, he had received one
    formal warning, and he had been spoken to on numerous occasions about a variety of
    incidents, this history suggested action short of dismissal was unlikely to be effective
    in addressing his behaviour because he had not responded well to previous guidance.
    [54] I consider LDHB had reasonable grounds for concluding it was unable to trust
    Mr Dumolo to act appropriately in future. He had not demonstrated any remorse. He
    strongly believed he had done nothing wrong. He maintained his view that LDHB was
    overreacting and had only taken disciplinary action because it “was out to get him”.
    He was unable to understand why LDHB was concerned, and he had not given LDHB
    any reason to believe he would comply with its Rules of Conduct in future.

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  13. RRM (9,915 comments) says:

    I’ve heard in the past that it takes the functional, patient-healing staff of Lakes DHB weeks to get any computer problem attended to by the in-house geeks.
    But you can always find a couple of them sitting in the staff cafeteria shooting the sh!t. Just hopeless.

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  14. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    This guy should have joined the Labour party. He could have just said the law was confusing and others stole stuff as well and that it wasn’t fair to just prosecute him. All he would have to do is pay it back and tell us to move on…..

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  15. RF (1,396 comments) says:

    Do the crime…. Do the time.

    Theft as a servant.

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  16. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Jim Anderton once used a parliamentary franking machine to pay pay the postage for 1,000 letters his wife was sending out for her local council campaign and she was driving his self drive car with her signage on it – was he fired – NO.

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  17. Longknives (4,737 comments) says:

    Tough titties..

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  18. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    For ‘catylist’ read ‘last straw’.
    Also it could be argued that if you enter your employer’s premises after hours to do things other than work, you are breaking and entering. So he abused employer’s trust with respect to employer’s keys / swipe cards.

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  19. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    He strongly believed he had done nothing wrong.

    There’s a difference between a small matter, and no matter at all.

    Clearly had there been no other issues his employers might have been more tolerant. I guess his attitude that because it was a small thing it didn’t matter ( that because it was small theft it wasn’t theft) sealed the deal.

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  20. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Headline should be,

    “Newspaper Invents Story”

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  21. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Just about time to grab the milk and tea bags from the office kitchen and head home.

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  22. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    mikenmild – is the kitchen sink a step too far?

    ps – your comment did give me a good laugh

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  23. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    RightNow

    Too heavy – I am not accustomed to that sort of labour. The words “anything that’s not nailed down” spring to mind.

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  24. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Means getting your hands dirty and anyway MM thinks doing dishes is women’s work. :lol:

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  25. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    No sympathy at all for this idiot. He received his just desserts.

    Good riddance.

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  26. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    I’ve heard in the past that it takes the functional, patient-healing staff of Lakes DHB weeks to get any computer problem attended to by the in-house geeks.
    But you can always find a couple of them sitting in the staff cafeteria shooting the sh!t. Just hopeless.

    Ive seen this before. Only thing that can fix that is sacking the top two levels of the IT dept. The CIO is not acting so sack that person at a minimum, then review the performance of the remaining higher level IT staff – guarantee half will walk prior to the review anyway. Anyone who can let the standard of work slip to that level is not appropriate for the role they are in.

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