Last Updated on August 24, 2021 by MyGh.Online
A waiter has won a claim of unfair dismissal after his ‘childish’ boss farted and grinned while wafting the smell towards him in front of customers.
Alessandro Cretella, owner of the popular Italian L’antipasto in London, also repeatedly burped in Edgar Simplicio’s face and asked him whether he would like to see a picture of his poo.
The owner claimed this was just his ‘childish sense of humour’ but, following a massive row, overheard by customers, Simplicio resigned after working in the role since September 2007.
An employment tribunal has now ruled that the waiter was unfairly dismissed due to the ‘unreasonable conduct’ of his boss leaving him no option but to quit.
Reports say Cretella suffered from oesophagitis which causes him to have excessive gas and he explained this condition means he cannot control when he burps or breaks wind.
While Mr Simplicio knew about Mr Cretella’s medical condition, he described his boss as ‘disgusting and puerile’ – however, Cretella denied the accusations.
The server said the embarrassment left him ‘frozen’ for a few moments as his boss called him over on a number of occasions and deliberately burped loudly, sometimes into his face.
He recalled an occasion early in 2020 when Mr Cretella said in a light-hearted way to his wife ‘Edgar doesn’t like my burps’ and claimed his boss would ask him to look at images of his bowel movements.
Cretella allegedly used ‘unfiltered language about his own bodily functions and other inappropriate subjects’ on regular occasions around his staff.
In evidence Mr Cretella denied the farting and burping incidents did not happen but the tribunal ruled that they probably did take place, ‘given Mr Cretella’s childish sense of humour.
In further evidence, the pair came to a head in August 2020, after Mr Simplicio had been underpaid for a year which has been described as the ‘final straw’.
They had a loud row in the restaurant which ended with the restaurant owner was heard yelling: “F**k off f*****g shit… go, go away. Had enough of it… take your f*****g money and f*****g go…”
The waiter was then signed off work for stress and anxiety for a week until 10 August 2020 when his three week holiday began.
When he returned, the pair had a meeting which Mr Simplicio resigned at the end of.
The panel ruled that the resignation was the result of constructive dismissal and was therefore unfair, entitling Mr Simplicio to compensation which will be decided at a later hearing.
In its judgement, it said: “Mr Cretella’s evidence that he tried not to dwell on his medical issue so as to maintain a level of confidence as it was a bit embarrassing goes some way to explaining (but does not fully) what he described as his childish sense of humour.
“The Tribunal concludes that burping near [Mr Simplicio], loudly breaking wind and wafting the smell and asking [Mr Simplicio] if he wanted to see a photo of his faecal matters were inappropriate and amounted to unreasonable conduct.”
Regarding the angry row, the judge added: “[Mr Simplicio] cannot be expected to put up with the behaviour Mr Cretella displayed on that day.
“This conduct is so serious as to be likely to seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence, there was no reasonable and proper cause for such an extreme reaction. Mr Cretella later apologised but by then it was too late.”
Compensation will be decided at a later hearing.
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