HR Strange But True!
August 16, 2001

Samuel Maxwell, an employee of the Taranaki Sawmills in New Zealand, readily confessed that it was he who took five biscuits that a coworker had been saving in the company tearoom.

That was enough for Taranaki to fire Maxwell. And that was enough for New Zealand's Employment Tribunal to fine the company, saying the firing amounted to "extravagant overreaction." Taranaki was fined 15,000 New Zealand dollars, which equals just under $6,500 in American currency.

Maxwell said the biscuits had been sitting in the break room for two days when he took them. "The biscuits were just in there," he said. "I thought, 'No one is going to eat them.' I just opened them up, and if anyone was going to object, someone would have said."

Tribunal member Kenneth Johson remarked, "This is not a case which involves dishonesty in any conventional sense."

Source: New Zealand Tribune.

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