The story in Le Parisien newspaper named the two employees as Anthony and Mohamed. The IT workers at Gide-Loyrette-Nouel in Paris were given their marching orders on July 19th.
A letter to the two former employees accused them of having “eaten or taken food and drink immediately after the end of meetings” in a “clandestine” and “repeated” manner.
“A few glasses of orange juice, some untouched pastries or some melons that had already been cut,” the two men told the newspaper. “Everything we ate was about to go in the bin!”
The two workers, both handicapped following a motorbike accident in one case and an illness in the second, were summoned to meet the human resources director on June 27th where, they claim, they were laid off without any explanation.
In a later meeting, on July 7th, they said they were told the nature of the charges against them.
“We don’t deny eating the leftovers,” said Mohamed. “There are cameras everywhere in the corridors and we never hid anything because we didn’t do anything wrong.”
“In any case, the person organizing the lunches told us to help ourselves because the rest was going to be thrown away,” added Anthony. “We didn’t take our lunch there though and our canteen cards can prove it.”
The HR director accused them of drinking wine, which they deny, and of frequently leaving their desks to search for leftovers.
Anthony told the newspaper the worst part of the experience for him was the tone of voice used by the HR director when she informed him that she “had been well brought up.”
“Me too, I was also well brought up,” he said. “I have been treated like a thief. For more than three years I’ve worked hard here … now I have nothing, just for a few glasses of orange juice.”
Le Parisien said the law firm did not respond to its questions about the allegations, but told AFP in an earlier statement that the claims of the employees were incorrect. The firm added that the dismissal of the two employees were for “real and serious reasons.”