Officials of a water company in Japan recently made a public apology over an elderly employee’s lunch break.
Company executives of the Kobe City Waterworks Bureau appeared on television to castigate their 64-year-old male staff member for occasionally leaving his desk for three minutes during his lunch break.
The man was found to have taken a total of 26 trips to a nearby store between September 2017 and March 2018 to buy food, according to MailOnline.
The unnamed employee, who reportedly used 78 minutes of his lunch break out of his desk over the course of seven months, was berated by his bosses for wasting company time.
He was caught by a senior office worker who looked out the window and saw him crossing the street to buy a bento, which is a popular Japanese lunch.
The company considered the man’s actions as a scandal and decided it was proper to address the issue by having the bosses apologize and bow in front of the camera.
“It’s immensely regrettable that such a scandal took place, and we wish to express our sincere apologies,” one of the officials said.
— 荒川和久@「超ソロ社会」著者 (@wildriverpeace) June 18, 2018
As punishment for the man’s scandalous behavior, the company saw fit to take half of his pay for a day.
The employee told his supervisor that he opted to buy his lunch outside the office because he wanted “a change of pace.”
The publicity stunt, however, backfired as the majority of the public sided with the employee, with many netizens stating how ridiculous it was to punish the man for enjoying his lunch.
“Are people not even allowed to go to the toilet now? This is like workplace slavery or something,” a Twitter user lamented.
“The punishment is totally absurd – 26 times over a six-month period means he only left the office once a week,” one pointed out.
“Absolutely ridiculous – arranging this formal apology with the press would’ve wasted more time than the three minutes he spent buying his lunch every now and then,” another user wrote.