A German bank clerk fell asleep on his keyboard and accidentally transformed a minor transfer into a 222 million euro ($293 million) order, a court heard.
The man was supposed to transfer just 62.40 euros from a bank account belonging to a retiree, but instead “fell asleep for an instant, while pushing onto the number 2 key on the keyboard” – making it a huge 222,222,222.22 euro order.
The case was taken to court by the man’s 48-year-old colleague who was fired for letting the mistake slip through when verifying the order.
Judges at Hesse labour court ruled, however, that failing to spot the error and approving the transaction was not worthy of dismissal.
The judges instead decided that the supervisor, who had been an employee at the company since 1986, should only have been reprimanded as she had already checked 812 transactions that day, allowing just a couple of seconds to check each one for irregularities and errors.
The judges ruled that it was clear there had been no malicious intent on the supervisor’s behalf, saying she should have received a warning.
As a result, they ordered the bank to reinstate the supervisor, saying her work contract could not be terminated.
Fortunately for the company, the huge transaction was spotted by a third employee later in the day and corrected before any money was exchanged.