The Law @ Work

Employee Who Sold Herself Discounted Candy Bars Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

We all know of the tendency to hoard candy bars this time of year, especially in the wake of all the post-Halloween candy sales.  But one Thornton’s store manager, Norma Perez, took it to a new level by selling herself 80 chocolate bars at the super-discounted price of 15 cents each (after performing a manual price override at the cash register to adjust the purchase price).  Perez’s grand total for the 80 candy bars was $12.00, $115.20 less than the register price.  Perez was fired for misappropriating inventory, but Perez filed a lawsuit against Thornton’s claiming that the real reason Thornton’s fired her is because she is a Hispanic woman. The Judge summed up her actions in a rather apropos style:

“To prepare for ghouls and goblins reaching out bags and chanting ‘Trick or Treat,’ Americans buy more chocolate during the Halloween season than during any other time of year—90 million pounds by one account.  But for plaintiff Norma Perez, Halloween 2009 must not have satisfied her sweet tooth because just days later, on November 4, 2009, she purchased 80 candy bars from the convenience store she managed.  The trouble began when she performed a price override to purchase the bars not at the sales price, 2 for $2.22, but rather for 15¢ each—a retail price not seen since 1974.”  (the Judge found these tasty price comparison statistics here)

Fortunately, the court dismissed Perez’s discrimination claim.  Even though the general manager of the store had allegedly made some inappropriate comments about working with women, this was not enough to show that the employer’s actions were motivated by the employee’s gender.  In this case, the employer’s reasoning was clear:  the employee’s self-discount on candy bars was the reason the she was let go.

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