Tesco manager fired after tackling shoplifter gets £40K payout

A Tesco manager has been sacked by bosses. After tackling an ‘armed and dangerous’ shoplifter.

Tesco manager fired after tackling shoplifter gets £40K payout: A tribunal heard that Abdoul El Gorrou made an ‘instant’ decision to restrain the alleged thief in his office. The man was aggressive after being asked about his behaviour inside the store. Mr El Gorrou was spat at and threatened with a ‘screwdriver’ like implement. Before grabbing the man and manhandling him the tribunal heard. Although Mr El Gorrou received no complaints his actions were later reported to his bosses.

They decided to dismiss him in January last year saying he did not follow company guidelines on dealing with shoplifters. At an employment tribunal yesterday (Tuesday) Mr El Gorrou won his claim for unfair dismissal. Tesco were ordered to pay him over £42,000 in compensation. During the case the panel saw CCTV footage that showed the 60-year-old grab the shoplifter’s hood. And manhandle him for about 10 seconds.

The tribunal was told that, although the London store was a hotspot for violent shoplifters. No security guards were in place at the time. Three months after the incident a whistleblower, with a grudge against Mr El Gorrou, sent an email and the footage to Tesco bosses.

Stephen Knight, employment judge, said. “The whistle-blower held some sort of vendetta against Mr El Gorrou. And was using the CCTV footage to encourage Tesco to take disciplinary action against him.” Judge Knight said that Tesco should have been suspicious of the whistleblowers claims. But instead dismissed Me El Gorrou. He told the tribunal “The CCTV is completely decontextualized. It does not show what happened immediately before he took a step towards the shoplifter.

Any reasonable employer would also conclude that this was suspicious. And that the footage immediately before the start could be exculpatory. And could have been edited out by the whistle-blower to make the manager look worse.” He also threw out the supermarket’s claim that the manager had breached policy on handling shoplifters. With Knight adding “There were no reasonable grounds on which Tesco could have concluded that he acted otherwise than in response to disgusting and violent actions by the armed and threatening shoplifter.

There were no reasonable grounds to conclude that in the CCTV footage (he) acted otherwise than in reasonable self defense and defense of others… having made a split-second decision about what defense was required, in an intensely scary and fast-paced situation, and without a security guard having been provided for his or his colleagues’ protection.” A total of £42,141.56 has been awarded to Mr El Gorrou although the ruling is expected to be appealed.

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