Tribunal rules against pest controller who claimed his firing for misconduct after bosses said ‘theft is theft’ was ‘unnecessarily harsh’
A diabetic pest controller who stole a chocolate bar to boost his blood sugar was fairly sacked, a tribunal ruled.
Jason Galloway secretly swiped the confectionery from a restaurant fridge and ate it when he sensed his sugar levels were running low while working on a job.
Mr Galloway, who has type 1 diabetes, was caught on CCTV at the food outlet raiding the store room and was reported to his employer Rentokil.
After he was suspended, Mr Galloway ended up returning to the eatery with two chocolate bars to replace the one he took.
But Rentokil bosses said “theft is theft” and sacked him for gross misconduct.
‘Resented theft label’
Mr Galloway tried to sue the pest control company for disability discrimination, and took them to an employment tribunal in Hull, arguing his sacking was “unnecessarily harsh” and that “he resented being labelled a thief for suffering a ‘hypoglycemic medical episode’”.
However, he lost his case, with the tribunal ruling he did nothing to reassure Rentokil that he would not do the same thing again.
The tribunal heard Mr Galloway had managed his diabetes for around 30 years and had an implant which connected to his phone, allowing him to measure his blood glucose levels.
He was required to inject insulin and when levels dropped too low he suffered a hypoglycemic episode, known as “hypos”.
A tribunal judgment read: “On April 3 2023, at around 5pm, Mr Galloway had been at a customer premises and had taken and eaten a chocolate bar from a fridge in a store room.
‘Did not mention chocolate’
“The bar belonged to a member of staff – the outlet did not sell chocolate bars.
“Mr Galloway then bought a meal of noodles from the outlet.
“He had called line management to say he would not finish his calls that day, but he did not mention the chocolate bar.
“However, he did realise he had done something that needed to be put right that night.
“The outlet management had reviewed CCTV and concluded he had stolen the bar and reported it to Rentokil as such.
“After Mr Galloway was suspended, he visited the customer premises, taking with him two chocolate bars to replace that which he had taken, telling the customer’s manager of his diabetes.
“The customer then notified Rentokil and offered apologies, effectively withdrawing the complaint.”
Two earlier warnings
During a meeting about the incident, Mr Galloway “shouted” and claimed he was being “persecuted”.
A Rentokil manager told Mr Galloway that “theft is theft” and that the company “could not justify theft”.
Mr Galloway had already been given two warnings for separate matters, it was heard.
In his defence, Mr Galloway claimed he had a “valid reason” to steal, adding: “I did not choose to have a hypo, it was OK because it was justified.”
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