(RNN) – A Burger King cook who was fired when she took home approximately 50 cents worth of food has been awarded $46,000 by a Canadian court.
Usha Ram, an immigrant from Fiji, has an eighth-grade education and struggles with English, according to a story inCBCNews.
At the end of her shift on Dec. 27, 2013, she told her manager that she had left her wallet at home and asked if she could have some food. She thought the manager agreed, so she took home a fish sandwich, fries and a beverage.
When she came back to work three days later, she was accused of stealing. She offered to pay for it, but was told to go home. She was later let go.
She filed a lawsuit saying her dismissal had no just cause.
The manager, Tayyaba Salman testified in court that she believed Ram had asked only for the sandwich, not the drink and fries. Salman admitted that Ram did not try to conceal the food when she left for home.
The restaurant’s co-owner defended her firing on the basis that she had stolen food.
Justice Lisa Warren ruled that the loss to the owner was about 50 cents, because employees get a discount on sandwiches and there is a policy that they can take have a free drink at the end of their shift. She ruled in Ram’s favor because there was a lack of evidence that the plaintiff’s actions were premeditated.
Warren also said the restaurant’s zero-tolerance policy for theft could have been enforced with less severe consequences, such as a letter of reprimand. Ram had no previous disciplinary action taken against her, the judge noted.
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