Woman Allegedly Fired for ‘Theft’ After Eating a Sandwich That Was Leftover From a Meeting

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A woman is suing her former place of employment, a law firm, after claiming she was let go for eating a leftover sandwich she found in the office.

Gabriela Rodriguez worked as a cleaner for London-based Devonshires Solicitors for two years, before reportedly being axed by the private contractor she worked for, Total Clean, for eating a tuna sandwich worth roughly $1.90 that someone had left behind in a meeting.

According to the legal affairs website RollOnFriday, the sandwich was purchased at popular British grocer, Tesco, and was set to be thrown out before Rodriguez ate the leftovers. She was fired for “theft” in taking client property “without authority or reasonable excuse.”

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Devonshires Solicitors denied that anyone at the company made a formal complaint against Rodriguez. But it is unclear, then, how Total Clean found out about the sandwich.

“Devonshires did not make a formal complaint against Gabriela or ask for any action to be taken against her. Total Clean carried out their own investigation and the decision to dismiss Gabriela was taken without any input or influence from Devonshires whatsoever,” a representative for the firm told the outlet. “This is a private matter between Total Clean and Gabriela, but we have made clear to Total Clean that we would not object, as we never have done, to Gabriela attending and working on our premises if Total Clean changes its position.”

Upon the news of Rodriguez’s firing, dozens of members of the United Voices of the World Union rallied and showed their support by standing outside of the Devonshires offices with cans of tuna, wrapped sandwiches, balloons, and letters all addressed to Rodriguez.

“Cleaners are routinely dismissed on trivial and, we argue, discriminatory grounds like this every day around the country. Many describe feeling treated ‘like the dirt they clean’ and Gabriela is one of them. We will raise our voices and unite to fight any employer – even big powerful companies like Devonshires Solicitors,” the General Secretary of UVW, Petros Elia, told The Guardian. “Just because we clean their dirt, does not mean they can treat us like dirt.”

Rodriguez is a mother of two and originally from Ecuador.

According to the UVW’s Instagram page, the organization “left the sandwiches with reception and demanded a meeting with management, which was agreed to by the CEO and a partner of the firm,” though Devonshires did not publicly confirm if or when the meeting was happening.

Related: College Coach Gets Staggering Amount of Money After Being Fired

Total Clean is being served under claims of “unfair dismissal” and “direct race discrimination” while Devonshires Solicitors is being hit with allegations of “direct and/or indirect race discrimination.”

Total Clean did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.

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