Harrods restaurant worker sues for £1million after being sacked for eating cake
A Harrods employee sacked for eating a slice of chocolate cake sent back by a customer for being too dry is claiming £1 million compensation.
Restaurant supervisor Juan Mackenzie is suing the department store after being dismissed for eating the £7.50 Devil’s Dog Cake. It was going to be thrown away after a customer complained about it.
He then tasted a slice from a fresh cake to make sure it was moist enough, an employment tribunal heard.
Mr Mackenzie, 35, claims he was discriminated against by colleagues between July and October last year due to his race, age and sex. Harrods denies the allegations.
Female colleagues — dubbed the “Lithuanian mafia” — mocked him for being bald and pinned up a drawing of him at the Godiva Chocolate Cafe in Harrods where he worked, the Central London employment tribunal heard.
Mr Mackenzie, who earned £2,000 a month at Harrods, said he was left a “broken” man by his dismissal, but wanted to fight the regime at Godiva.
The Chilean father of one had worked as a restaurant supervisor since April 2013 at the cafe, based on the second floor of the Knightsbridge store.
But he was suspended last September following an accusation he ate a piece of cake a customer had earlier complained was too dry. Mr Mackenzie said he tasted the slice to confirm it was indeed too dry. However, he was eventually sacked on October 9.
The tribunal heard on Friday that he was also subjected to racial abuse by colleagues at Godiva as well as ageist discrimination.
He said: “I only know that I am the victim here and I suffered a series of acts that treated me clearly less favourably. I was constantly picked on, humiliated in front of colleagues, regularly treated unfairly, verbally abused, blamed for problems caused by others, always given too much to do so that I regularly failed in my work and regularly threatened with the sack and unfairly passed over for promotion.
“I even got sick over the whole situation, but now I feel strong enough to fight against evil. I need to solve this problem in order to be able to move on with my life, get back my confidence, my mental health and get back the smile on my face.
“I am a broken man right now, but still have faith that justice and the truth will finally come.”
Edward Capewell, for Harrods, said: “Two other witnesses said that you had eaten the cake rather than tasted it, which was misconduct.”
The barrister described Mr Mackenzie’s account as “totally inconsistent”. The tribunal continues.
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