Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

A man who claimed two sandwiches in lunch expenses has lost his unfair dismissal claim against his former employer, Citibank.

An employment judge ruled the bank was entitled to fire Szabolcs Fekete for gross misconduct after he lied in an expenses claim.

Mr Fekete, who worked in financial crime at Citibank, had claimed he alone ate two sandwiches for lunch, drank two coffees and ate two pasta dishes on a July work trip to Amsterdam. In truth some of the meals had been shared by his partner.

Under the company’s expense policy travel and meals for spouses can’t be claimed back and all attendees whose meals are submitted for reimbursement must be listed.

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In an email to his employer, who queried his expense report, he said “I had two coffees as they were very small”.

One of the sandwiches was eaten for lunch with another in the afternoon for his dinner, he added, and the sums were within the bank’s €100 (£86.42) expense limit.

“I don’t think I have to justify my eating habits to this extent.”

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He said was having personal difficulties after the death of his grandmother, took six weeks of medical leave and was on strong medication when he replied to emails.

After being let go by the lender Mr Fekete brought the claim to challenge his dismissal.

In deciding in favour of Citibank, employment judge Caroline Illing said the issue was not “the sums of money involved”, but instead Mr Fekete’s failure to “make a full and frank disclosure”.

“I have accepted that the expense report may have been submitted in error,” she said. “However, I am satisfied that a dismissal in relation to the misrepresentation allegation alone would fall within the band of a reasonable response by a reasonable employer.”

Citi said it was pleased with the decision.

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