German shop can't sack woman over stale bread: court

Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:51am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A German supermarket chain which fired a long-standing employee for taking home some stale bread that was no longer fit for sale was wrong to dismiss her, a court in Leipzig has ruled.

The 44-year-old cashier had been asked to dispose of the bread in a bio-waste container in March this year, but it was later found in her bag when she was searched by supermarket security personnel on leaving work later that day.

The woman, who was not named, argued that she had intended to put the bread in the bio-waste container, but her employer believed she meant to take it home and eat it.

The Leipzig labor court ruled Monday that even if the employee did intend to eat the bread, it did not constitute grounds for dismissal, especially given her 27-year employment record with the company and the fact that the bread no longer had any monetary worth for the employer.

(Writing by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)