A hospital worker who was sacked for eating a piece of garlic bread – despite braving snow to get to work on that day – has been awarded £25,000 in compensation.
Hamid Elkhiyari was dismissed from his head chef job at Kingston Hospital after his employer, ISS Mediclean, ruled that eating the bread – which was due to be thrown away – amounted to theft, reports the London Evening Standard.
The chef, 53, said he had been unable to take a proper lunch break during February’s record snowfall as many staff had not made it into work.
However, general manager Alain Ilunga accused him of stealing food and ordered him to leave.
Elkhiyari launched legal action against contractor ISS Mediclean, alleging racial discrimination, as he was dealt with differently to other staff in similar situations.
He has now been awarded £25,000 compensation after the judge at an employment tribunal in south London upheld his allegations.
The tribunal decided that ISS’s investigation was inadequate, and that other staff caught for similar offences had only been suspended or warned while his actions were deemed gross misconduct.