Sacked sommelier wins back job

12th March, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

A Dutch sommelier at the Amstel hotel in Amsterdam has won his job back after being fired for drinking wine at work.

The Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

The Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

As reported by Dutch news site NL Times, the sommelier had been working for the Amstel hotel in Amsterdam for 33 years when he was fired last November.

Paid €2,982 a month to work at the hotel’s Le Rive restaurant, the sommelier believes the hotel was looking for a reason to get rid of him.

The sommelier received an official warning on 14 December 2012 due to drinking on the job, which the hotel forbids staff to do before or during working hours.

The NL Times reports that after “a gulp” of wine while working on the evening of 18 November 2013, the sommelier received a summary dismissal a week later.

On the night in question, the hotel provided the catering for the Marie Claire Awards at the Royal Theatre Le Carré near the river Amstel.

After the awards, an executive came by to congratulate the staff on a successful night, handing around beer, wine and sandwiches.

The sommelier reportedly took “a swig” of wine and offered a glass to a colleague.

According to the judge, this went against the hotel’s policy of not allowing staff to drink while on the job.

The judge also found that the sommelier’s behaviour was not serious enough to warrant dismissal.

In addition, NL Times reports that evidence given against the sommelier about his drinking habits “seemed to have been given under pressure from the employer.”

Only one of the nine colleagues that testified during the trial had provided evidence against the sommelier before he was fired.

In the sentence delivered today, the judge ordered the Amstel hotel to take the sommelier back into service and pay arrears of his wages, with a penalty payment of up to €75,000.

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