Usha Ram, a veteran Burger King employee in the Vancouver, B.C. area has won a $46,000 judgment after she took home a fish sandwich, fries and pop without paying — mistakenly thinking she had permission.
The 55-year-old immigrant from Fiji had worked at various Burger King locations around Vancouver for 24 years.
Her boss, Janif Mohammed, fired her to warn other staff against theft.
In her ruling, Justice Lisa Warren found that the employers acted in an “unreasonable, unfair and unduly insensitive manner” and should have considered that Ms Ram would have difficulty finding other employment because of her age, limited education and English skills.
Mr Mohammed, who defended himself, says Ms Ram was an exemplary employee, a “wonderful lady” and a “good worker”. The two had worked together since 1989.
At the time of her dismissal, in January 2014, she was earning $21,000 a year and working full-time. Her husband is physically disabled and she also supports an adult daughter with a mental disability. She is the sole earner in her household.
The judge ordered the franchise co-owners, Mr Mohammed and Michael Lacombe, to pay her $21,000 in general damages, or the equivalent of one-year severance. The judge also awarded her $25,000 in aggravated damages for emotional distress.