Stealing food from coworkers is very bad form. Still, one German woman was surprised to find herself summarily fired from her job, allegedly without warning, after being accused of eating a coworker’s chocolate bar. Now, however, after an extended court case, a judge ruled that the woman should get her job back because the chocolate had been replaced.
According to The Local, the Heidelberg woman was a 64-year-old employee of a daycare for disabled children. She’d been working at the facility for more than 30 years and was just a few years away from retirement, but in February of 2017 she was fired without notice for allegedly eating a coworker’s chocolate bar.
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The woman took the case to court, arguing that it was unfair to fire her without notice and without good reason, especially so close to retirement. Her employer argued that she’d been accused of stealing other things, too. Once she was accused of taking another coworker’s bag and giving it away as a gift. She was also accused of using the facility’s laundry to wash her own clothes.
In the end, the judge said the daycare had not proved that the woman took the coworker’s bag, and also that it had not explicitly said it wasn’t OK for her to use the laundry for personal clothes. With those allegations off the table, the firing came down to the $3 chocolate bar.
The judge said that since the chocolate bar had been replaced, the woman should have been given a formal warning instead of being fired.
“Infringing on someone’s property is still not funny,” he said, because everyone knows it’s not cool to steal a coworker’s food.