A shameless Lidl store boss sacked for stealing £16,000 from the till has sued his bosses for unfair dismissal after claiming he was only ‘exposing’ how easy it was to take the money. Thadsoruban Theivendram, who is in his 30s, was fired after police searched his home and found the missing cash in various Lidl-marked cash bags in his bedroom.
But the father-of-two has denied wrongdoing, saying he only took the money ten times to reveal ‘gaps’ in security and claimed senior colleagues were stealing from the business . He then sued for wrongful dismissal and racial discrimination, but his claims were dismissed as “unrealistic” by a judge.
A Watford employment tribunal has heard that Mr Theivendram from Hayes, Middlesex, joined the budget supermarket giant in October 2014 and became assistant store manager at its Uxbridge branch in west London. But an investigation began in August 2020, when he was called to a meeting with his store manager and another boss and asked about the cashing and disappearance of the money.
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He initially denied any wrongdoing, but later admitted to taking money from the till and was suspended. Police searched his home and recovered bags of money containing more than £16,000 which had been taken from the store by Mr Theivendram on ten occasions.
The following September 2020, he attended a disciplinary hearing but claimed he had taken all that money to ”show it could be done” or ”expose vulnerabilities” in Lidl’s systems and the ” risk of theft. was fired for gross misconduct but challenged the decision.
During the appeal hearing he admitted to taking cash from the Uxbridge store but claimed the reason was to prove to Lidl the ‘failure of the systems’. He claimed that the fact that he didn’t make a runner showed that he was not a thief. ‘ and said he had not spoken to anyone else at Lidl before withdrawing the money from the building.
Sri Lankan-born Mr Theivendram then contacted the ACAS Conciliation Service and blamed his situation on “poor mental health” plus “unfamiliarity with Labor Court rules and lack of funding.” In rejecting his claims, Judge David Maxwell said: ”I do not find that the Claimant suffered from a mental illness during the period between his dismissal and the commencement of these proceedings.
”It was undoubtedly a very stressful time for him, as not only did he lose his job, but he was also facing criminal charges. However, it is not the same as being sick. The Claimant is an intelligent man, who describes himself as a computer expert.
“Indeed, during the hearing and without saying what he was going to do, he took control of the hearing to show a document which included the proposition that by acting as he did, he had denounced wrongdoing and was therefore a whistleblower.After his dismissal appeal was dismissed, he began researching online how he could take the case to the employment tribunal.
“This led him to contact ACAS and enter into conciliation with the aim of bringing a claim before the Tribunal. He had been employed by the respondent for approximately six years and became assistant store manager. The claimant was able to explain himself satisfactorily at this hearing and tended to speak at length.
”On the papers, the plaintiff’s claim would appear, most naturally, to be a claim of direct racial discrimination with respect to dismissal. In his argument at this hearing, the claimant stated, for the first time, that he was also relying on indirect discrimination and victimization.
”In terms of indirect discrimination, the claimant stated that the reason Lidl handled the issues the way he did was because he was a junior manager and the respondent wanted to protect senior managers. Although not worded very clearly, the Claimant’s argument seemed to be that his store manager had stolen money from the Respondent, he sought to reveal it and yet his thanks for it was the dismissal.
”The Claimant went so far as to say he had been ‘framed’ to protect people at a higher level. There was, however, no evidence that his store manager stole anything. While the Claimant says he engaged in this activity to expose the weakness of the system and theft by others, the only person who was actually exposed as having taken money was the Claimant.
‘Police found bags of money, in excess of £16,000, at the claimant’s home and not the store manager’s. There is no evidence to support the existence of the alleged senior management protection. The arguments in favor of the non-discriminatory dismissal of the Claimant are overwhelming. There is a total lack of realism in the way he formulates his complaints about this.
“The claimant took money from the respondent, on 10 occasions, over 2 months, totaling over £16,000. During the first investigation, he denied knowing anything. It was only during a second interview, belatedly, that the claimant advanced his explanation on the revelation of the shortcomings.
”That the respondent found him guilty of theft in such circumstances is quite trivial, indeed it would have been very surprising if they had come to any other conclusion. Although he had no dishonest intentions, he took a substantial sum of money from the respondent, on ten occasions, without any authorization to do so and in violation of company rules, falsifying and destroying documents financial over time.
“That the claimant, subjectively, thinks he was justified in doing all this, gets him nowhere. It’s hard to see how such a poorly designed undertaking could end other than in dismissal. The plaintiff appears to have a strong personal belief that he is honest and acting with good intentions when he took £16,000 from the respondent on 10 different occasions, which led to falsifying and destroying financial records every time, as well as removing the money from the premises and hiding it in his room.
“That others weren’t so convinced doesn’t suggest discrimination at all. In light of the Claimant’s confession and the bags of cash found by the police in his room, coupled with a startling explanation advanced as to why all of this was done for the Respondent’s benefit, no sensible assertion can be made to the effect that the Respondent lacked reasonable grounds or his investigation failed.
“The present case is so clear cut and completely without merit that I can properly form an opinion on it based on the evidence I have today. The Applicant’s view of his own conduct and the Respondent’s reaction to it are totally unrealistic. »