A worker for highways company Autostrade was sacked after bosses found him asleep in his car when he was meant to be working a shift in the southern Abruzzo region of Italy. He will also have to pay a €3,000 fine to cover legal costs.
The man worked as a security officer for Italy's highways agency, but reportedly made an agreement with a colleague so that they took it in turns to sleep during the night rather than patrolling the road together.
An appeals court in L'Aquila had overturned the decision, with judges saying the sanction was “disproportionate” and that the 51-year-old should have to pay a fine instead.
But Wednesday's ruling from the Court of Cassation, Italy's Supreme Court, said that the nap constituted “total job performance failure”.
Judges added that his behaviour showed “total opposition to the worker's fundamental duties” and that this justified losing his job, particularly as his role involved providing a service “of vital importance”.
The fact that the nap was not a one-off lapse, but was “organized rather than sudden or unexpected” added to its severity, judges explained.
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Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP