There’s no denying that most businesses pay a mint in energy bills. But this company’s actions may have been a wee bit drastic.
Here’s the back story: Network administrator Oliver Beel had been working at a Germany company for 19 years when he was fired in 2009.
His offense: Charging his Segway — a two-wheeled electric vehicle — for 60 to 90 minutes using the company’s power source.
At the time, Mr. Beel’s boss simply asked him to remove his Segway. However, 12 days later he was fired from the company for the theft of 1.8 euro cents (two U.S. cents) of electricity.
Beel sued, claiming the company had no grounds for firing him and asking to be reinstated.
A German court ruled that the company was in the wrong and, despite Beel’s questionable taste in vehicles, he won the case.
According to the court, because of the “minimal electricity cost involved, the plaintiff’s 19-year employment by the company and the fact other employees charged mobile phone and digital photo frames at the firm’s expense without punishment,” Mr. Beel’s termination was disproportionate to his offense.