easyJet has compensated an air hostess who was sacked for eating one of the company’s bacon sandwiches that was given to her by her manager.
Sharon Gleeson said she only ate it because she has a nut allergy and had not been able to find a safe alternative while working abroad.
The Employment Tribunal was told that she had breached company policy by not asking for a receipt to prove the manager had paid for the sandwich. However, Ms Gleeson claimed she had been wrongly dismissed because easyJet’s policies placed no obligation on staff to ask for a receipt.
The issue arose after a fellow crew member told the company she had seen Ms Gleeson and her manager eating food intended for passengers. easyJet investigated and Ms Gleeson, who had worked for the company for three years, offered to refund the £4.50 cost of the sandwich. Both she and the manager were dismissed.
Summarising the case, Employment Judge Michael Ord said: “Ms Gleeson ate a bacon baguette and she had not paid for it. That is the extent of the mistake.
You have actually got to show some loss for there to be a theft. I see no evidence that anything was paid for or not paid for.”
Judge Ord questioned the fairness of the decision to dismiss her for gross misconduct. “She didn’t take it from the trolley. She wasn’t responsible for ensuring it was paid for. She apologised straight away and she has three years unblemished, praiseworthy in fact, service.”
easyJet settled out of court after evidence before the tribunal suggested there was no way of recording missing stock from a flight. They paid Ms Gleeson an undisclosed sum as compensation.
A spokeswoman for easyJet said: “easyJet has settled this matter with Ms Gleeson and so cannot comment in any further detail other than to say that we have clear and well-understood policies and the honesty of our employees is really important.”
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