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Spanish supermarket worker wins spy cam case over empanadilla

A Spanish judge has ordered a supermarket to reinstate a worker who was sacked after being caught on video eating a pasty.

Spanish supermarket worker wins spy cam case over empanadilla
Photo: Bruna Benvegnu / Flickr

In a landmark ruling for Spain, Judge María Josefa Gómez Aguilar of Social Court 2 in Cordoba ruled that the worker’s right to privacy had been breached as she was unaware of the secret camera.

She was sacked last November after being filmed eating an empanadilla – the Spanish version of a pasty – while she was serving customers at the Cordoba supermarket.

Her employers argued that she had breached hygiene rules and helped herself to the food that was not for staff but on sale to the public.

 But her lawyer, Valentín Aguilar used a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that ruled covert CCTV recordings as inadmissible.

He said it was the first time such an argument had been successfully used in Spain.

The laywer argued that the cameras had been secretly set up to catch out the worker after employers singled her out for dismissal because of recent diagnosis with a debilitating illness.

“The singular follow-up was based on a desire to dismiss the worker due to her suffering a prolonged illness that could potentially generate a disability claim,” the lawyer said in a statement on his website.

The supermarket chain, which has not been identified, was ordered to reinstate the worker, an employee of 12 years, or pay her €19,148 compensation.

MILITARY

Spain drops probe into ex-military WhatsApp ‘kill squad’

Spanish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into messages posted in a WhatsApp group of retired military officers that denounced Spain's left-wing government and discussed shooting political adversaries.

Spain drops probe into ex-military WhatsApp 'kill squad'
Photo: JOSEPH EID / AFP

The group was made up of high-ranking retired members of the air force with some of the messages leaked in December to the Infolibre news website, sparking public outrage.

The messages focused on the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose Socialists rule alongside the hard-left Podemos in Spain’s first coalition government since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

“I don’t want these scoundrels to lose the elections. No. I want them and all of their offspring to die,” wrote one.

“For them to die, they must be shot and 26 million bullets are needed,” wrote another, referring to the number of people who cast their ballots in favour.

Prosecutors opened their investigation in mid-December after finding the statements were “totally contrary to the constitutional order with veiled references to a military coup”.

But they dropped the probe after concluding the content of the chat did not constitute a hate crime by virtue of the fact it was a private communication.

“Its members ‘freely’ expressed their opinions to the others ‘being confident they were among friends’ without the desire to share the views elsewhere,” the Madrid prosecutors office said.

The remarks constituted “harsh” criticism that fell “within the framework of freedom of expression and opinion,” it said.

The decision is likely to inflame protests that erupted in mid-February over the jailing of a Spanish rapper for tweets found to be glorifying terrorism, a case that has raised concerns over freedom of speech in Spain.

According to Infolibre, some of the chat group also signed a letter by more than 70 former officers blaming the Sanchez government for the “breakdown of national unity” that was sent to Spain’s King Felipe VI in November.

Such remarks echo criticism voiced by Spain’s rightwing and far-right opposition that has denounced the government for courting separatist parties in order to push legislation through parliament where it only holds a minority.

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