A grocery clerk fired from her job of 31 years after allegedly stealing $1.66 has turned into a recession-time hero in Germany. While financial fat cats walk away with billions despite triggering a worldwide economic crisis, the sacking of a 50-year-old mother seems unfair, her supporters tell Der Spiegel. A labor court upheld Barbara E’s firing earlier this week.
The ruling is “barbaric” and “destroys people’s confidence in democracy,” said one lawmaker—now himself under fire for undermining judicial independence. The media, too, has sided with the union activist who goes by the name Emmely, and claims her role in recent strikes against the supermarket chain cost her the job. The chain responds: “Imagine what would happen if all our employees stole $1.66 every day.”