Banking giant Citibank has won a legal battle in the UK after firing an employee for charging his partner for sandwiches and coffee during a business trip and then lying about it. according to BBC, former financial analyst Szabolcs Fekete has sued the bank for unfair dismissal after he was fired last year for gross misconduct regarding an expense claim. He initially said he had eaten the two sandwiches, two pasta dishes and two cups of coffee himself during a business trip to Amsterdam, but later admitted his partner had shared some of the food with him.
according toBBCMr Fickett, who worked at Citibank for seven years, had traveled to Amsterdam for work from July 3 to 5 in 2022. On his return to London, he made a claim for food and drink expenses which he believed were covered by his company’s per diem. However, the supervisor filing his claim asked him if he had consumed all the food for which he was seeking compensation.
in Email exchange The Citibank employee and his manager said he “checked the receipt and didn’t see anything broken… I was on a business trip alone… I had two cups of coffee because they were too small.”
In response, the Citibank manager said the receipt “appears to contain two sandwiches, two coffees, and another drink… Would you recommend that I have consumed all of this?”
Mr Fickett explained: “That day, I skipped breakfast and only had one coffee in the morning. At lunch, I had one sandwich with a drink and one coffee in the restaurant, took another coffee with me to the office and had a second sandwich in the afternoon. “Which was also dinner.”
He also told his manager: “All my expenses are within the daily allowance of 100 euros. Can you explain what concerns you because I don’t think I have to justify my eating habits to that extent.”
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On the other hand, the bank stated that its inquiry was not about the amount but whether the claim had violated its expense management policy, which stipulates non-reimbursement of the wife’s travel and meal costs. I also wondered if he shared two dinners of pesto pasta and spaghetti bolognese with his partner. But Mr Fickett said that was not the case.
However, he later admitted that he had shared the food, which he had paid for his employer, with his partner. He also claimed that he was experiencing personal difficulties following the death of his grandmother, that he had taken six weeks of medical leave and was taking strong medication when he responded to the emails.
However, Citibank eventually fired Fickett. Employment judge Eling concluded that his dismissal was fair because Mr Fickett had not initially been honest about the wrongly claimed expenses.
“I have found that this case is not about the sums of money involved. This case is about the filing of the expenses claim and the plaintiff’s conduct thereafter,” he said.
The judge added: “It is significant that the claimant did not make full and frank disclosure at the first opportunity and that he did not answer the questions directly.”
A Citibank spokesman said in response to the ruling: “We are pleased with the decision.”
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