Chicken nugget firing: HR advisor wins £5,000 payout after 3 nugget gripe

9 September 2021, 09:01

HR advisor Steven Smith was sacked after complaining that he was not a "kid" and wanted more than three chicken nuggets for lunch.
HR advisor Steven Smith was sacked after complaining that he was not a "kid" and wanted more than three chicken nuggets for lunch. Picture: Alamy

By Joe Cook

An HR advisor has been awarded £5,000 after being sacked after he challenged a company dinner lady who gave him just three chicken nuggets for lunch.

Steven Smith, 30, ordered chicken nuggets, chips, beans and cheese for lunch during a 12-hour shift at Teleperformance Limited in September 2019.

But a shocked Mr Smith “stormed off” after he was given just three nuggets, telling an employment tribunal he was left feeling “antagonised” when he was told he could get three more for an extra 99p.

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He “advised” the dinner lady he was not a “kid” and “forcefully pushed the box back”, adding: “If I wanted a happy meal I would go to McDonald’s”.

The dinner lady later complained about his behaviour, saying it left her “almost afraid to come into work”, with her stomach “churning”.

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Teleperformance sacked Mr Smith for gross misconduct, accusing him of having “acted violently”.

However, an employment tribunal has now ruled in Mr Smith’s favour, concluding: "Having carefully reflected upon this and considered the evidence led before the tribunal I have concluded that the respondent’s investigation fell outside the range of responses open to a reasonable employer."

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It added that the company “placed significant weight” on the fact that Mr Smith had been “red faced” making the dinner lady believe he was angry.

But the judge said that Mr Smith had told Teleperformance he has health issues that can cause his face to go red.

The company has been ordered to pay £5,181.60 to Mr Smith in compensation.

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