Skip to main content

Judge: Christian's Wal-Mart supervisor had habit of letting employees eat damaged items

By Howard B. Owens

In a decision that allowed Batavia City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian to receive unemployment benefits after her termination from Wal-Mart, an administrative law judge in Buffalo found that Christian's supervisor previously let employees eat damaged food items.

Mark Sokolowski said he found the testimony of Christian about the matter more credible than the testimony of the Wal-Mart representative, who is not named in Sokolowski's ruling.

Rose Mary Christian, who is a candidate for District 7 County Legislature, dropped a copy of the ruling off at The Batavian's office this afternoon. Christian's termination from Wal-Mart became a public issue when former Democrat Tim Paine provide an e-mail to local media where Christian admits to fellow council members that Wal-Mart let her go.  Paine is admittedly disgruntled over what he sees as Christian blocking his plan to run for City Council this year.

The ruling states:

"Although the claimant acknowledged that she was aware that she was supposed to scan a damaged item and throw it out, since the claimant's supervisor allowed deli associates to eat damaged food items as samples, I am not persuaded that the claimant was aware that she placed her job in jeopardy when she ate a piece of cake on January 26, 2008," Sokolowski wrote. "It is also significant that the claimant was not the first associate to eat a piece of cake, reinforcing to the claimant that it would be okay to eat the cake. At worst the claimant used poor judgment when she ate a piece of cake on January 26, 2008, however her poor judgment in this instance does not rise to the level of misconduct within the meaning of the Unemployment Insurance Law."

"Accordingly," he adds, "I conclude that he claimant was separated from her employment under non-disqualifying circumstances."

Sokolowski overturned a prior Department of Labor finding that Christian was not qualified for unemployment benefits because of her termination.

Rose Mary Christian

I would like to thank everyone that believed in me, came to my defense, and supported me throughout this whole ordeal.
Rose Mary

Oct 22, 2009, 3:55pm Permalink
Laura Scarborough

Seems to me to be so bitter and full of anger and wanting revenge is a huge waste of time, unhealthy & unproductive. Rose Mary to be the target of all that must be tiring indeed.

Oct 22, 2009, 4:07pm Permalink
Raelene Christian

To everyone that believed in Rose Mary Christian, you will immensely enjoy this article and the judge’s ruling regarding Rose Mary’s case.

For all who didn’t believe in her and tried ever so hard to destroy her, especially Tim Paine, READ IT and WEEP!

Keep your head held high Mom, you have nothing to be ashamed about. You are an honorable, noble and stand-up person all the way around. I love you.

Oct 22, 2009, 4:31pm Permalink
Steve Ognibene

Congrats Rose Mary and at least some good came out after everything was said and done. People should not fault or hold it against you either way because of an election coming up. It is just a political mud throwing by another party to throw you in the spot light in a negative way and that is not the case so everyone can move on and ...


Oct 22, 2009, 4:44pm Permalink
Julie A Pappalardo

KUDOS to Rosemarry for "taking one for the team" and not being a NARC!!!! Why should ALL of those people have lost there jobs? Over something SO dumb!!!!

I would have done the same thing!

Rock ON Rosemary!

Oct 22, 2009, 6:23pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

I still feel she shouldn't have gotten unemployment insurance.

Also I still feel what she did was thievery.

But to say that revenge is a waste of time is an insult to all the service personnel who joined the Armed Forces after Dec. 7th and Sept. 11th

Both desires to get some payback were natural, constructive in their outcomes, and the right thing to do.

Tom's was just on a more personal level. I don't fault him for it nor will I join in your demonizing him for it. Turn about is fair play. Kudos Tom! Sorry this will not accomplish what you set out to do, but know that I respect you for not turtling and hiding after someone took you out.

Oct 22, 2009, 8:14pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Peter, what part of the story makes you believe that Rose Mary "took him out"? He had every opportunity to run in a primary, he chose not to take that option. Am I missing something that says she stopped him from putting his hat in the ring?

Oct 22, 2009, 9:54pm Permalink
John Roach

Ok, I can see part of your point. But, "turn about is fair play"? What "turn about"?

Rose Mary was not in charge at the meeting where Tim decided not to run. In fact, she was there to ask for an endorsement herself to run for the County Legislature. She was there just like Tim.

A friend of Rose Mary, Julie, was one of a number of people at the meeting asking to be endorsed for the City Council race. There are only 3 slots, but any number can try for them. If more than 3 wanted to run then you go to the next step. It's called the Primary.

Tim, on his own, decided he did not want to run in a primary for one of the slots.

How is that Rose Mary's fault? Becuase one of her friends was there? What about the other two candidates? They had their backers also, but only Rose Mary is targeted by Tim.

Peter, please explain this to us.

Oct 22, 2009, 9:23pm Permalink
Amy Davis

With all the hunger that goes on right here in our own community, why would anyone care if "damaged goods" were actually eaten? What difference does it make if it's in the dumpster, or in someones stomach? It's the same for restaurants, when food is not sold it must be destroyed according to regulations. What a terrible waste. Is WalMart (& others) throwing away food that is consumable? Of course they are, and other food vendors are doing the same thing to abide by laws that are in place. Something is wrong here other than Rosie being targeted for something so stupid. Guess Tim will have to wait a while before getting some voters...

Oct 22, 2009, 11:06pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

I'm with you Amy. Walmart could probably feed a third world country, with what they throw away. If very Walmart and Chain Restuarants got together, they could feed alot of people that needed help. How many elderly would love a coffee cake, or baked goods. There the ones that are suffering the most, with the poor economy, and the High NY Taxes.

Oct 23, 2009, 12:56am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

I am not talking to you. Apparently when I send you a private email its cause for me to get banned but when you insult me in email its not for you. Since you have better standing then me for no more apparent reason then you age, any comment you post directed at me is going to be ignored.

I can't explain the inner workings of his head. I'm not him. But when someone who's been politically active for 2/3 of my life says I want this person on the ballot with me, people usually aren't going to just ignore her desires. Not going through the primary and more than likely losing because your opponent has a backer is better for your political career than trying to stay in there.

Oct 23, 2009, 6:09am Permalink
John Roach

That's the rub, she didn't say anything.

Rose Mary is running for a County office, District 7 (1st and 6th Wards).

Tim and 3 others wanted to run for a City office.

They were not running together. As for the primary, Tim would probably have won one of the slots. He was better known due to his try two years ago. Nobody really knew the other 3.

People with more influence with the party leaders than Rose Mary were there. And you have to ask why at least 2 of them did not want to run with him? Of course, maybe we know why now.

Oct 23, 2009, 7:04am Permalink
Paul Weiss

Eighteen years ago I believe I played a major role in the first election of Rosemary Christian to the Batavia City Council. This is something I have never regretted. Even though I have moved from Batavia, I follow what is happening in my home town. Now that I live in Florida I only wish we had a few leaders like Rosemary here in the Sunshine State. Rosemary is as honest as the day is long. She is a credit to the City of Batavia and a credit to the Democratic Party. Good luck Rosemary and good luck Batavia.

Oct 23, 2009, 8:24am Permalink
Alan Bedenko

<blockquote>I still feel she shouldn't have gotten unemployment insurance.

Also I still feel what she did was thievery.</blockquote>

For eating a coffee cake that was destined for the garbage and could not be sold? How silly.

Oct 23, 2009, 8:52am Permalink
Ron C Welker

I cant help but wonder?..... did walmart give at least one verbal warning to employee?.... Then was she given a written warning prior to dismissal?
Clearly posted notice pertaining to proper disposial of dammage goods visible in the area?
Is the rule posted in the employees handbook?

Mud sling at best! You go Ro!

Oct 23, 2009, 9:20am Permalink
Raelene Christian

Posted by Peter O'Brien on October 21, 2009 - 9:18am

I will not vote for an admitted thief. We have enough of them in government.

Posted by Peter O'Brien on October 22, 2009 - 8:14pm
I still feel she shouldn't have gotten unemployment insurance.

Also I still feel what she did was thievery.

Peter, contrary to your beliefs, Rose Mary was never charged or arrested for theft. Over the past several days you’ve repeatedly expressed your belief and even went as far to call her a thief, and that she committed thievery by eating a small piece of coffee cake.

In checking, this may lead to a liability suit of defamation of character.

You have the right to your opinion, but to repeatedly call her a thief is in fact defamation of character, despite what you believe.

Just an FYI: You call Paine Tom, the name is Tim.

Oct 23, 2009, 12:46pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Ron, you're talking like a small business owner who actually cares about employees and rather than just throw them under the bus, wants to help them succeed. What a concept!

Oct 23, 2009, 12:51pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

Also, sounds like pretty poor management by the deli manager. Consistency is pretty key to being a leader. You can't say it's OK to do something one day and then fire someone for doing it the next. Obviously, the judge Ms. Christian went to agreed. The manager should've gotten the boot too, if Wal-Mart is in fact serious about their policies. My experience in working for large national organizations including the US Navy, is policies & regulations are usually referred to only when it suits their purposes.

Oct 23, 2009, 1:11pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

Howard, why did you let this fly back in the room? Things were so much more adult, and logical without him stirring people up all the time. It gets reallly old. I hope someone sues him for the crap that spews from his mouth.

Oct 23, 2009, 1:34pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

Well, I'll admit to being a bit opinionated, but I don't think I'm that bad. Besides suing me is a complete waste of money. There's nothing to take.

Oct 23, 2009, 2:22pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

You know, I think most people here have contributed and continue to contribute in a positive and constructive manner, voicing their opinions. That is what is adult about this site, and while some people do get riled up, most of the time it's just about opinions.

So, while I was going to comment on your opinion on Peter, I'll tell you simply what I used to be told when I was a child "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". So, please keep the maturity level where it has been for this discussion. Thanks.

(ha, I thought I was logged in as Chelsea, Peter is at work, so it's Chelsea)

Oct 23, 2009, 3:23pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Raelene Christian

She admitted to eating what she was not given and what she did not rightfully own. That is theft.

Also she a is a public figure. She could try to sue me but she can't win, her case is too weak. Not to mention she admitted to doing it and unless it is grand theft, someone needs to press charges and it was in Wal-mart's economic interest to just fire her instead of spending the time to deal with cops investigating a coffee cake.

Also the O is right next to the I on the keyboard so sue me for that too.

Oct 24, 2009, 2:25pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Posted by John Roach on October 23, 2009 - 7:04am
That's the rub, she didn't say anything.

Rose Mary is running for a County office, District 7 (1st and 6th Wards).

Tim and 3 others wanted to run for a City office.

They were not running together. As for the primary, Tim would probably have won one of the slots. He was better known due to his try two years ago. Nobody really knew the other 3.

People with more influence with the party leaders than Rose Mary were there. And you have to ask why at least 2 of them did not want to run with him? Of course, maybe we know why now.

Thanks, John,
Still trying to figure out how she "took him out". Tjat was a pretty emphatic statement.
I'm sure there was a reference to it somewhere, I just can't find it.
No one, at that meeting, stopped him from running.
So why was he seeking revenge? Why didn't he seek revenge on everyone at that meeting who fielded a candidate? He was surrounded by friends, at that meeting, who would have nominated him.
The only one who "took him out" was Tim when he declared he wouldn't run.

Oct 24, 2009, 2:43pm Permalink
Douglas Poole

When you single out only one of the four employees involved it gets fishy. It would have been thrown out in a regular court before the brief before it could be filed. What we are seeing the depths of modern politics.

Gone is the days of running on your record. Some like Tim now feel the need to win at any cost. People are human and do make some choices that might be considered bad by others. These others take politics from a political fight down to a personal fight. I'm sure if this wasn't the issue Tim would be out measuring the grass in Rose Mary's

I must admit I'm glad to live in Pavilion. In our Town we Democrats don't exist. I don't care where you live though where you live. Due to the worry of running up against a Tim like person we lose many good candidates.
Politics used to be a "gentlemanly competition". Some have turned it into a fight between parents at a high school sports game.

Oct 25, 2009, 12:15pm Permalink

Authentically Local