Before you decide to bring home any leftovers from a company event, you may want to get written permission — or you could end up like this guy.
Nolan Koewler was fired from Dillard’s department store for the egregious offense of stealing two hot dogs that were leftover from the company’s Fourth of July picnic.
Back-story: After a July 4th company picnic, a Dillard’s manager ordered the leftover hamburgers and hot dogs be stored in a break room freezer until Labor Day.
But Mr. Koewler allegedly never received the leftover memo and proceeded to take (and eat) two dogs from the break room’s refrigerator.
A store manager reviewed video footage and, after seeing Koewler “steal” the hot dogs, called the police to the store.
According to Koewler, the manager gave him the option of signing a statement saying that he stole the hot dogs or spending the night in jail. Koewler opted to sign the statement and was promptly fired.
When he applied for unemployment benefits, the company denied his claim. So Koewler appealed the decision.
What the court said: In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel found there was no evidence that Koewler heard anything about the food being saved until Labor Day, and Dillard’s wasn’t justified in firing him. The court also made it a point to note that the hot dogs were found in the fridge — not the freezer.
Result: Koewler is eligible for unemployment benefits.