ERA upholds dismissal for taking DVD

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

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.

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

As well as working at the district health board, he taught martial arts and was intending to make a training DVD for his students.

He had also been giving defence classes to members of the district health board staff and would later say that the DVD was for them also.

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

When confronted, he said he did not think he had to ask permission to take a blank DVD as it was a low-priced item used every day, such as a pen or paper.

A pack of 10 blank DVDs can be bought at The Warehouse for $8.49 - just over 80 cents each.

Subsequently, a meeting was held between Mr Dumolo and his managers.

At the end of the meeting, Mr Dumolo was heard to have said: "I can't believe this has turned into such an issue."

It was discussed later, among the managers, that the fact that Mr Dumolo did not believe he had done anything wrong was unacceptable.

The health board's chief information officer, Alex Wheatley, said he did not accept that taking the blank DVD was a minor thing as it was of small value.

It was more about principle rather than the cost.

Mr Wheatley said the DVD did have a cost to the organisation and Mr Dumolo's taking it, without authorisation, was inappropriate.

"[The district health board] has 1300 staff so it would be costly if all staff took home blank DVDs," Mr Wheatley said.

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.

- NZ Herald

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