PetSmart employee finds himself in the doghouse

Management said using store’s kennel facility to keep his dog while he worked overnight shift was theft of service
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/08/2010

Eric Favetta, 31, was an employee at a PetSmart store in Secaucus, N.J., when a new overnight shift was added. The shift would be for a single employee to prepare the store while it was closed overnight for a visit by representatives of a company that was thinking of selling products at PetSmart.

Favetta said he volunteered to work the overnight shift as a favour to his manager. However, he didn’t want to leave his three-year-old dog, Gizmo, alone all night after being alone all day. Since the store had a dog day-care facility, it seemed logical for him to bring Gizmo with him and keep him in the facility while he worked, checking on Gizmo every 15 minutes. The store was closed and the day-care facility was empty for the night.

Two weeks later, Favetta submitted a written report of his overnight shift to the store and district managers. After reviewing the report, PetSmart management fired Favetta for theft of service. It said the dog day-care facility was an important part of PetSmart’s business and it considered using the facility to house his own dog was the same as using other products without paying.

Favetta told the Newark Star Ledger he was “shocked” and he believed PetSmart was using it as a reason to fire him because he had a strained relationship with his manager.

“It makes me sick that because I brought my dog to work with me when the store was closed to do the company a favour, I was called a thief and terminated,” Favetta told the Star Ledger.

After word got out, PetSmart offered Favetta a job at another store. He accepted but soon left after receiving a job offer from another employer.

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