A woman who had worked at the same bakery for 40 years was sacked for trying to get around her company’s no-cash rule by taking money from customers and paying with her own card.
Megan Metcalfe told NottinghamshireLive that she was given her marching orders because her gesture was deemed to be gross misconduct by bosses at Birds Bakery in Radcliffe-on-Trent.
The business has not been accepting cash for hygiene reasons since reopening following the coronavirus lockdown. Birds says it is to minimise any risk to staff and customers.
It has previously been reported that a 94-year-old customer was shocked when a Birds branch refused to sell her bread because she only had cash.
Megan revealed many of the customers at the Birds store where she worked, in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, were elderly and did not possess a debit card.
To make sure they didn’t leave empty-handed, the 60-year-old of nearby Ruddington decided to ask them to put the money straight into her purse and she would then put the payment through on her card.
The bakery business said it was “with regret” that they had to dismiss Megan because of her actions.
“I realise what I was doing was against company policy. But they had picked up the items and already gotten to the till ready to buy them,” Megan said.
“There’s no way I could let an elderly man or woman walk away telling them they could not buy it because they didn’t have a card. They had also already handled the stock so that would have to be binned or cleaned.”
Megan claims she accepted around £180 of payments in cash before paying on her card. She has kept receipts of the transactions. She said she was suspended from work for a week with full pay on June 19 and appeared before a disciplinary hearing but was dismissed.
“I was just trying to do the right thing. I am really upset by it of course,” she added.
“I worked at Birds for 44 years and 25 of them as a manager. I was told I was endangering staff members’ lives by doing what I did. At no point did money transfer hands. It was straight into my purse and then I put the payment through on card and showed them the receipt.
“I should not have done it but I don’t like to let people down and a lot of these customers depend on us, coming to us every day.”
Lesley Bird, chief operating officer at Birds Bakery, said: “At Birds, we take the safety of our staff and customers very seriously – and have very tight procedures in place during this pandemic. A lot of our customer base are the elderly – many of them vulnerable – and it is our responsibility to keep them, and our staff, safe.
“Like many other food outlets, during this pandemic we have asked customers to only use debit cards because notes and coins are not clean – and this poses a risk to our staff who are handling that money.
“In the case of Megan Metcalfe she was taking cash from customers and then making payments with her own card.
“This contravenes our current health and safety policy relating to Covid-19 and is also against company regulations.
“It was with regret that we had to ask Megan to leave the business because of those two issues.”