An Upper Hutt KFC manager fired after stealing $80 has been ordered to pay almost $9000 to his former employers.
The amount included the cost of hiring a private investigator, who discovered Leonard Bond was dipping into the till.
Mr Bond managed the Upper Hutt fast food store for 20 years before he was dismissed in July 2009 for taking company funds.
He later pleaded guilty to stealing $80.
The Employment Relations Authority heard private investigators Paragon were called in to investigate discrepancies found in an audit.
Hidden cameras were installed and Mr Bond was filmed taking $80 from the till in June 2009.
At first he provided a "feeble and implausible" explanation.
Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, suspected Mr Bond and other employees of taking a far greater amount over time - as much as $100,000 - however there was no direct evidence of this.
Mr Bond admitted taking more than $80, but said the extra amount he pocketed was small.
An amount of $9545 in damages sought by Restaurant Brands was based on "suspicion and speculation only", Mr Bond said.
Employment Relations Authority member Paul Stapp found Mr Bond's actions were a breach of trust.
"He was in breach of his duty of fidelity and caused a loss to Restaurant Brands because of the money he took."
Although Mr Bond admitted taking more than $80, it had not been established how much he actually did take, Mr Stapp found.
The authority ordered him to pay $8,926 to Restaurant Brands Ltd.
The amount was made up of $5000 special damages for the cost of employing a private investigator, $2381.41 special damages for executive time and expenses incurred in the investigation, and $1545 legal costs.
The ERA dismissed a further claim by the company for $3000 in general damages, saying it had not been established how much money had been taken.
In statement, a Restaurant Brands spokesman said it took the issue of theft seriously.
"When an employee is caught stealing, as a matter of course we not only terminate their employment but we also report it to the police. If appropriate we will also seek restitution for losses incurred, as we have in this case."
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