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Disabled woman fired for eating pâté meant for patients

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Disabled woman fired for eating pâté meant for patients
Photo: DPA
14:38 CET+01:00
A disabled Hannover woman working at a nursing home has been fired after 18 years on the job for eating pâté intended for patients, daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Friday.

The 40-year-old was sacked for theft after she consumed the piece of bread and Teewurst meat spread at the St. Martinshof senior centre residents, the paper said.

She has taken her case to the employment court in Hannover, where it will go to trial on December 2, court director Kilian Wucherpfennig confirmed.

The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) called the incident “outrageous” and incongruous with the treatment of bankers who made far bigger mistakes to cause the financial crisis.

Meanwhile Walter Meinhold, leader of the city’s Social Democratic Party said he was “shocked.”

The manager of the senior centre was unavailable for comment, but is said to be travelling to the facility to investigate the situation.

The case is the most recent in a series of controversial firings involving low-value items that have been characterised as theft by employers. In October a court in Baden-Württemberg ruled that a 58-year-old nursing home worker was rightfully sacked for taking home leftover Maultaschen, a Swabian specialty similar to ravioli.

This firing was preceded by a 59-year-old Dortmund secretary who was fired after 34 years on the job for snagging a Frikadelle, or meatball, after setting a conference buffet for her employer, the North Rhine-Westphalian building association. The company later retracted her dismissal in response to public outrage.

In another similar case, a Berlin court ruled in February 2009 that a former cashier for the Kaiser’s supermarket chain was rightfully fired after allegedly taking €1.30 in bottle deposits, though she maintains the termination was because of her union activities.

The woman, identified as Barbara E. but dubbed “Emmely” by the German media, had worked as a cashier for 30 years. The company said the incident meant it could no longer trust her. The case has inspired union-related solidarity groups and made national headlines, making her a minor celebrity.

 
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