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Dismissal for Theft of DVD

Published 03 Sep 2011

David Dumolo was an IT Technician who was employed by the Lakes District Health Board.

On Saturday 24 April 2011 he went in to work and took a blank DVD, which he intended to use for making a self defence training film. Mr Dumolo's actions were observed by a colleague who advised management.

When asked, Mr Dumolo said that taking the DVD was similar to taking a pen or paper from his desk because DVDs were a low value item (under $1), which were used every day at work.

He was subsequently dismissed for serious misconduct after a disciplinary meeting.

The Board's Chief Information Officer said the taking of the DVD was not a trivial matter - the Board had 1300 staff and it would be very costly if everyone took home a DVD. He said that it was a matter of principle, not cost. He also said that no decision had been made by the Board to train staff in self defence.

Mr Dumolo raised a personal grievance, which was heard by the Employment Relations Authority. The Authority found that the Board's actions, and how it acted, were what a fair and reasonable employer would have done in all the circumstances at the time it dismissed Mr Dumolo. Accordingly it determined that Mr Dumolo's dismissal was justified.