A cinema worker dismissed after taking a single jellybean from the candy bar has won more than $10,000 from her employer.
Anne Kemp was working as a supervisor at Hawera Cinema when another employee told the manager, Kirsty Bourke, she had seen Mrs Kemp take one black jellybean from a jar to eat and warned her that was theft.
The employee claimed Mrs Kemp had previously taken confectionery and eaten icecream without paying for it.
Mrs Kemp denied that, telling the Employment Relations Authority that employees were generally allowed a couple of drinks and popcorn, but nothing else, unless they paid for it.
On January 10, 2011 Mrs Kemp was sent home by Mrs Bourke on full pay after Mrs Bourke and the trust which owns the cinema, Hawera Cinema 2 Trust Inc, decided her alleged behaviour was unacceptable.
A private "mediation meeting" was held a week later. An acquaintance of Mrs Bourke, a friend of the employee who reported Mrs Kemp, acted as mediator. Mrs Kemp was dismissed.
Authority member Paul Stapp said that was not what a fair and reasonable employer would have done.
He said Mrs Kemp's dismissal was unjustified and said she should be compensated.
The authority ordered the cinema trust to pay Mrs Kemp $6572.28 in lost wages and $4000 for humiliation and injury to feelings.