A Citibank employee tried to claim several dishes on expenses, saying he had eaten them all himself.
The banker later admitted he had shared the food with his partner and was fired by Citibank.
A judge ruled in the bank’s favor in a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit.
The banking giant Citibank has won an employment lawsuit against an employee who was fired after claiming expenses for food and drink for his partner during a business trip and misleading the bank about it.
The former analyst Szabolcs Fekete had sued the bank, accusing it of unfair dismissal after being fired last year for gross misconduct over the expenses claim. He initially said he had consumed two sandwiches, two pasta dishes, and two coffees by himself during a business trip to Amsterdam but later acknowledged his partner had shared some of the food.
In an email exchange with his supervisor, the Citibank employee said he had “checked the receipt and did not see anything out of order,” adding: “I was on the business trip by myself and I had 2 coffees as they were very small.”
In response, Fekete’s senior manager wrote that the receipt “appears to have two sandwiches, two coffees, and another drink,” going on to ask: “Are you advising that this was all consumed by you?”
Fekete said that this was the case and that all his expenses were within Citibank’s daily spending allowance, arguing he should not “have to justify my eating habits to this extent.”
The bank also questioned whether he had shared two dinners of pesto pasta and pasta Bolognese with his partner, but Fekete said this wasn’t the case.
He later admitted he had shared the food that he had expensed to his employer with his partner and was ultimately dismissed by the bank.
Fekete argued that there were mitigating factors, including that his grandmother had died recently and that he was on strong medication when he replied to the emails.
Judge Illing, presiding over the case, concluded that his dismissal was fair, as Fekete was not initially honest about the misclaimed expense.
“In considering the substantial merits of this case, I have found that this case is not about the sums of money involved,” he said.
“It is significant that the claimant did not make a full and frank disclosure at the first opportunity and that he did not answer questions directly.”
A spokesperson for Citibank told Insider: “We are pleased with the decision.”
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