Search icon


09th Sep 2021

Worker wins £5,000 payout after being given 3 nuggets for £1.99

Steve Hopkins

A workplace canteen dispute over three chicken nuggets has resulted in a worker being paid out £5,000.

Steven Smith claimed he felt “shocked” and “disillusioned” when he was handed the £1.99 portion and “antagonised” when told it would cost him 99p for extra, an employment tribunal heard.

Smith, 30, told the canteen employee, “If I wanted a happy meal I would go to McDonalds’,” before pushing the meal back towards her and storming out, Metro reports. The canteen employee had been left “almost afraid to come into work”

Smith, who worked in human resources, was later sacked for gross misconduct by Scotland-based Teleperformance Limited who he had worked for since November 2016.

A tribunal has since found the dismissal was unfair because the incident was not investigated properly.

The lunchroom ruckus happened in September 2019 after Smith asked “is that it?” after ordering chicken nuggets, chips, beans and cheese.

The canteen worker told the tribunal: “I knew he was angry by his attitude and by his tone and language changed. He was not shouting but he was louder than he had previously been.”

Smith was later called into a disciplinary hearing and was accused of “assaulting” the canteen worker.

Smith told the hearing: “Due to the disillusion of what was presented before me in the white box at which the food was presented in and the sheer shock of what I was presented, I showed nothing more than dissatisfaction at which said canteen lady should have offered to raise a complaint.”

He concluded: “However, instead we are in this situation where I am being falsely accused, all because I have somehow offended this woman of which was not the intent as I showed dissatisfaction at which was present to me not by whom it was presented.”

Related links

Woman wins £180,000 after boss wouldn’t let her leave early to pick up daughter

Waiter wins unfair dismissal case after ‘boss farted and wafted it towards him’

Smith also explained he was on medication and had been working overtime for almost 12 hours.

Another disciplinary hearing was held in October 2019 and Smith was later sacked. He later appealed the decision and accused the company of having a “vendetta”.

As well as finding that the company’s investigation was flawed, the tribunal noted Smith’s face was reddened during the incident because of medication he was on, rather than because he was angry.

Employment judge David Hoey said: ‘‘The investigation that was carried out was one that no employer acting fairly and reasonably on the facts of this case would have carried out.’

Smith was awarded £840 for unfair dismissal, £3,333.60 as compensation and £1,008 for notice pay/wrongful dismissal.