German factory backpedals after firing worker for charging cellphone

Estimated cost of electricity "theft" just 0.024 cents

A factory worker fired for charging his cellphone at work has been re-hired by his employer in Germany.

Mohammed Sheikh, who had worked for industrial seal manufacturer Jawa for 14 years, was fired in June for "stealing" electricity to charge his phone. The estimated cost to the Oberhausen-based factory was 0.014 euros (C0.024 cents).

The 51-year-old father of four had previously been disciplined for taking a photo of the machine he worked on, which is against company policy. The company never accused Sheikh of industrial espionage and Sheikh said he took the picture to show his five-year-old son where he worked.

Sheikh has taken his case to Germany's labour court, which suggested the employer re-hire Sheikh as long as he agreed to never charge his cellphone or take photos on the premises. Sheikh was prepared to agree to the terms but the company refused.

Following extensive media coverage of the case and the escalation of the legal proceedings, which would have been heard in October, the company withdrew the dismissal notice on August 5 and Sheikh has returned to his former position.

Latest stories