An human resources coordinator has just won a payout after being fired for complaining about the lack of chicken nuggets in his meal.
Steven Smith complained about his portion of chicken nuggets that he received from the office canteen of the company support firm he works for, which were priced at £1.99.
The 30-year-old received three chicken nuggets as part of his meal and said he was left ‘shocked and disillusioned’.
After making his complaint, Smith was then sacked by the company, but he how now been awarded a large sum of money over his dismissal.
Smith has been awarded more than £5,000 after he was fired for complaining about paying £1.99 for three chicken nuggets.
At an employment tribunal, Smith said he felt ‘antagonised’ when he was offered three more nuggets but for an extra 99p, despite other employees receiving four or five nuggets.
As per the Mail Online, during the incident Smith ‘advised’ the canteen worker who gave him his three-piece nugget meal that he was not a ‘kid’. He allegedly pushed the meal back towards them, telling them that if he had ‘wanted a Happy Meal [he] would go to McDonald’s’. He then left the canteen.
The canteen worker said that they could tell Smith was ‘angry by his attitude and by his tone and language change’. They stated how he ‘was not shouting but he was louder than he had been’ and that they could ‘tell by his face also’. The canteen worker is now ‘almost afraid to come into work’ and said that Smith left their stomach ‘churning’.
The incident took place in September 2019 during Smith’s 12-hour shift, and in the disciplinary meeting which followed, he said he showed ‘nothing more than dissatisfaction’.
It is not my fault that this canteen lady did [not] see or understand my dissatisfaction. She should have acknowledged my dissatisfaction and raised a complaint.
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.
Smith was sacked due to his conduct after a second disciplinary hearing in October, despite claims from Smith that he had been working overtime for almost 12 hours and was on medication. He was fired on the basis of gross misconduct and the company concluded that he had ‘acted violently’.
He then appealed the decision, and accused the canteen worker of having a ‘vendetta’ against him. However, while he brought a claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal, Smith did not attend the meeting due to feeling ill and being worried of being ‘accused of doing something he had not’.
Despite the appeal concluding that a ‘full and thorough’ investigation had taken place, the tribunal ruled that the company’s investigation ‘fell out with the range of responses open to a reasonable employer’ and that Smith had been unfairly dismissed, due to finding that the matter had not been properly investigated by bosses.
The head of the tribunal’s panel, employment judge David Hoey, concluded that the company had placed ‘significant weight’ onto the evidence of Smith’s demeanor, which they had ‘believed to be angry, such as red-faced, creating anxiety’. The tribunal noted that Smith had a condition that caused his face to turn red.
Mr Smith had advised the investigator he had health issues and it was possible his complexion (and demeanour) could in some way have been connected to his health (or indeed hunger or exasperation) rather than in a way that was adverse as was being suggested.
The information as to Mr Smith’s demeanour was relatively brief and lacking in detail. Despite that, considerable weight was placed upon it in concluding that the claimant was guilty of the allegation.
The sarcastic remark about a happy meal is not by itself abusive nor rude. For some the comment may have been positive depending upon their food preferences. For others it may have been negative.
The tribunal concluded that Smith would be awarded £840 for unfair dismissal, £3,333.60 as compensation and £1,008 for wrongful dismissal.
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