An HR advisor who said he had been left astounded and disappointed after getting only three chicken nuggets for lunch has been awarded over £5,000 after he was dismissed for complaining.
Dissatisfied Steven Smith, 30, had been upset at the size of the £1.99 portion he was given in the office canteen of the company support firm where he worked.
An employment tribunal discovered that when he questioned why others were getting four or five nuggets, he said he felt offended when he was told he could get three more for an additional 99 pence.
Steven Smith advised the dinner lady he was not a child and if he’d wanted a happy meal he would have gone to McDonald’s before pushing the meal back towards her and leaving the canteen.
The woman said the incident left her belly churning and almost scared to come into work.
She complained about his behaviour and Steven Smith was later fired for gross misconduct after the company decided he acted violently.
But the tribunal decided that he was unfairly dismissed as the matter was not investigated properly by bosses and will now be awarded £5,181.60.
The Glasgow hearing was told Steven Smith started working for Teleperformance Limited, a company that offers support to clients such as energy companies, in the human resources department, based in Airdrie, Scotland in November 2016.
In September 2019, during a 12-hour shift, Steven Smith had gone to the canteen and had asked for chicken nuggets, chips, beans and cheese.
As he saw only three pieces of meat put in a carton for him, Steven Smith said, ‘is that it?’ and questioned why his co-workers were given four or five, the canteen worker told the panel.
The worker said Steven Smith said that he was not a child and that they could keep it and forcibly shoved the carton back before storming off, the tribunal heard.
The canteen worker said that she knew he was annoyed by his manner and by his tone and language change. He was not yelling but he was louder than he’d previously been.
She said that she could tell by his face and that her stomach was churning.
She then reported the incident as the kitchen staff found his conduct extreme.
Steven Smith was then brought in for a disciplinary meeting to discuss the allegations that he’d attacked a canteen assistant.
In the meeting, Steven Smith said that he just wanted to get food and get out to go back to his job, but due to the disillusion of what was presented before him in the white carton in which the food was presented and the utter shock of what he was presented with, he bestowed nothing more than disappointment at which the said canteen lady should have attempted to raise a complaint.
Almost all frontline customer service workers are faced with rude and irritable behaviour and occasionally lost tempers daily, regrettably, it goes with the job, and the canteen staff should have been able to de-escalate this awkward situation, but clearly, she was a very sensitive lady.
The woman said that this incident had left her stomach churning and almost too frightened to come into work, but then this is representative of modern-day society who are intimidated by their own shadow or spend their entire life complaining and being offended by anything and everything.
But whether the complaint was malicious or not, it was taken too far, although that doesn’t mean that her complaint wasn’t valid, and maybe he should have just been given a verbal warning instead, and not fired for it.