The recent Authority determination of Restaurant Brands v Bond involved a claim by an employer to recover money lost through alleged theft by an employee.

Background

Mr Bond managed one of Restaurant Brands' KFC stores in Upper Hutt for 20 years before he was dismissed for serious misconduct on the grounds of theft of company funds.

Paragon investigators were brought in to investigate monetary discrepancies following a store audit and, using covert security cameras, caught Mr Bond taking $80 from the till. Mr Bond later pleaded guilty to the theft of $80 (although Restaurant Brands suspected that up to $100,000 had been taken by Mr Bond and other employees over time).

Breach

The Authority found that Mr Bond's action of taking $80 was a breach of the implied duty of fidelity in his employment, particularly where Restaurant Brands relied on his honesty and integrity as an employee in a senior position, and that the Company had suffered loss.

Damages

The Authority ordered Mr Bond to pay Restaurant Brands almost $9,000 made up of:

  • $5,000 special damages for the costs of Paragon's costs and expenses;
  • $2,381.41 special damages for executive time and expenses incurred by Restaurant Brands for its employees' involvement in the matter and assisting Paragon at the time; and
  • $1,545 legal costs.  

This recent case makes it clear that employers can seek restitution for losses incurred by employees. Indeed, making a claim against an employee where there as a been a serious breach of duty will also emphasize that the employer takes such an issue seriously.