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October 31, 2012

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Stealing apples costs duo jobs at 5-star hotel

TWO men, who were fired by a local five-star hotel for stealing and eating two apples, yesterday lost their appeal against a lower court verdict which had rejected a lawsuit demanding their reinstatement and compensation.

The plaintiffs, surnamed Qu and Zhu, worked at the Peace Hotel on the Bund as usher and telephone operator, respectively, before they were laid off on March 15 for sneaking into the hotel's kitchen and eating two apples on February 12, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard.

The pair took their case to court, believing the hotel's penalty was too harsh for veteran employees like them.

But the Huangpu District People's Court rejected their lawsuit. Later, the plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.

The court heard that Qu and Zhu had worked for the Peace Hotel for nearly 10 years and both had signed non-fixed-term labor contracts with the hotel.

The plaintiffs admitted entering the kitchen without permission and eating two apples, thereby breaking the rules in the employees' manual, but argued their behavior wasn't severe enough for them to be fired. They could have been punished in other ways.

They asked the hotel to reinstate them and pay seven months' salary as compensation.

The hotel said the pair's behavior not only violated the manual but was an act of theft. The hotel said it was not the first time that Qu and Zhu had violated its rules and regulations.

"No matter how much the value of the two apples, theft is intolerable in the hotel industry," the hotel lawyer said.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court yesterday rejected the plaintiffs' appeal, upholding the Huangpu court's earlier ruling in the lawsuit.


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