Disabled Nestlé worker fired for Facebook post

Disabled Nestlé worker fired for Facebook post
Perugina chocolate shop. Photo: Perugina
Swiss food giant Nestlé fired a disabled member of staff at its Perugina chocolate division in Italy after she posted a message on Facebook that “undermined the authority” of managers, a media report says.

The alleged offence took place on October 30th, when Marilena Petruccioli, an employee at the plant in Perugia, posted a message on her Facebook page.

In it she expressed her disgust over a disciplinary note from “the head of personnel” that allegedly compared an employee to a dog.

In a case that has now reached parliament, Petruccioli said in the post that the manager should be "put under review" for using the word ‘collare’, meaning ‘dog collar’, in reference to a foreman who had been disciplined for flouting health and safety rules, La Repubblica reported.

“'Il collare' is worn by dogs, not people," she wrote.

"Certain people who hold certain roles should be careful about the terms they use in certain official actions.”

Although Pertuccioli didn’t name Nestlé, she was dismissed earlier this month for “publicly attacking the company’s personnel managers”.

Nestlé reportedly wrote in a letter that Pertuccioli had “ridiculed” company managers on social media for “enforcing stringent sanitation and security measures” to “protect workers, products and customers”.

A representative for Nestlé Italy was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Local.

The dismissal was condemned by Fai-Cisl, a union that represents workers in the food and agriculture sector, which vowed to “legally cleanse this spectacular own-goal by Nestlé”.

Pertuccioli had been working for the Perugia-based subsidiary since 1996 and was placed under Italy’s “protected” workers category after becoming disabled following a workplace accident in 1997.

Dario Bruschi, the president of the union’s Umbria branch, claimed the Facebook post referred to something that “happened in another company” and “that a series of circumstances might have led to the belief that it referred to Nestlé-Perugina”.

A series of meetings with national union coordinators are planned over the coming days, Bruschi added, while Nicola Fratoianni, a politician with the Left Ecology Freedom party, raised the case in parliament.

“Is this an example of the good relations between employees and employers that the government is trying to bring about with the Jobs Act?" he was cited in Il Manifesto, a communist daily, as saying. 

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