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