By Andria Kades
A 61-year-old woman is suing the Brazilian embassy for unfair dismissal after she was allegedly fired for throwing away a spoiled cake.
The case filed in court last week says that the woman, who was a cleaner at the ambassador’s home for four years found a cake in a bedroom with a colleague and decided it should be thrown away.
Upon finding out, the ambassador’s wife “in a humiliating way” fired the cleaner and sent her out of the house, according to the allegation.
The woman’s lawyer Stylianos Christoforou, said the new ambassador and his wife had been there for a year. The previous occupants had never complained about the woman’s work during the preceding three years, he said.
The cleaner had, according to the filed court papers, “fallen victim to such behaviour from the ambassador’s wife” several times in the past.
First Secretary at the embassy, Thomaz Guedes said they did not agree with the woman’s views on what had happened but would neither confirm nor deny that an incident had occurred over a cake that had led to the dismissal.
He claims there was a “history of dissatisfaction” with her work and it was the first time an employee of theirs had been “let go”.
Christoforou is basing a main part of his argument on the fact that the 61-year-old never received written warnings from the couple, which is required by law to show dissatisfaction on the part of the employers. He said that according to the law “even one warning was not sufficient” for a dismissal and they should be “adequate.” Normally three written warnings are issued.
Employers are required to have “exhausted all means to make an employee work better and if the employee does not get better, then you are entitled to dismiss,” something he argues was not done.
Guedes’ response was that the woman received verbal warnings and was dismissed for “purely administrative reasons.”
Other claims she is filing for include compensation for discrimination, humiliating treatment during her employ, blatant abuse of her rights, loss of career as at 61 as she will struggle to find another job, payment in lieu of notice and a portion of her annual leave.