Greggs manager covered use-by dates to manipulate waste figures, tribunal hears


A Greggs manager crossed out use-by dates with a black marker to manipulate food waste figures, a tribunal heard.

Rosario Lino was hauled to a disciplinary hearing after a surprise inspection found food containers with their expiry dates “blocked out”.

If used, the out-of-date food could have resulted in serious harm to customers’ health, an employment tribunal heard.

The site manager claimed she had marked the items with a marker pen to show staff which food needed throwing out.

But she was sacked by bosses who accused her of avoiding disposing of the food for personal gain to prevent waste figures from “looking poor”.

After suing bosses for unfair dismissal, Ms Lino’s claims were upheld by an employment tribunal because of flaws in the disciplinary procedure.

However, Employment Judge Phil Allen found that her excuse “lacked credibility”, she was “culpable and blameworthy” and contributed to her dismissal by covering up the dates.

For this reason, her compensatory award was reduced by 100 per cent.

The Manchester employment tribunal heard Ms Lino began working at Greggs in Braywick, Maidenhead, in Berkshire, as a bakery assistant in 2015.

After four years, the Spanish employee was promoted to site manager.

The tribunal was presented with food safety documents which stated that any out-of-date stock must be removed and disposed of “immediately”.

In December 2020 a random food safety check was undertaken at the site by a regional manager.

The hearing was told that he found chicken in a storage container without a label to show when it needed to be used by.

He also found a “chicken mayo container” and a “tuna crunch container” with use-by dates that had been “entirely blocked out using black marker pen”.

An additional package of lettuce also had the timestamp blocked out with a black marker pen, although the date was still visible.

EJ Allen said: “It was not in dispute that marking out-of-date food with a black marker was not part of [Greggs’] procedures.

“It was also not disputed by [Ms Lino] when it was put to her that the matters identified might have resulted in the store being closed if they had been identified by inspectors.”

Ms Lino made other claims of race discrimination and harassment but these were not upheld.