Man wins £17k compensation after being sacked for buying Burger King on shift

A man has been given £17,000 in compensation after he was sacked from his job at BMW for going to Burger King.

Ryan Parkinson was an operative on the assembly line at a factory in Oxford and was working overtime when he was alleged to have "disappeared" for nearly an hour.

Mr Parkinson's superiors claimed they were not informed he was leaving, which he disputes, the Mirror reports.

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He was later fired after a disciplinary investigation into the incident, but the sacking was overturned on appeal.

When he left without permission again to go and get sandwiches from his car, however, he got the boot a second time.

Mr Parkinson claimed race discrimination, race-related harassment and victimisation were all reasons behind his repeated sacking, but these were dismissed in the case.

However, following an employment tribunal he was granted £16,916 in compensation and unpaid wages.

Mr Parkinson had worked for GI Group, a recruitment agency, since January 2014.

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Employment Judge Stephen Vowles said: "[GI Group] failed to investigate the assertions by [Mr Parkinson] and his trade union representatives that this was a widespread practice done during break times by dozens of other employees.

"There was no evidence of any procedure in place by [GI Group] for obtaining permission to exit the site or to notify a supervisor of exiting the site or the recording of any such permission or notification.

"Leaving a secure area through a turnstile for a few minutes to visit a car in the company car park when, it seems, that many other employees did exactly the same, though not investigated by [GI Group], did not amount to gross misconduct.

"He left his place of work to visit his car to collect his sandwiches during a break."

It is understood Mr Parkinson's supervisor filed a report, claiming he had been "missing off site" from 7:50pm and 8:45pm on a Sunday night of June 2018 without consent or permission to leave.

He grew "upset" and left for home at 9.45pm, the tribunal heard.

He was then questioned by his employers three days later and explained that he left after the assembly team had finished a job and were getting hungry.

He said: "Everyone wanted a kebab, and I said I wanted a Burger King. My [colleagues] were talking about what they were going to get.

"I said I’m going to get a Burger King. I got on a scooter thing and went and got a Burger King and sat in my car until half past."

Mr Parkinson called a colleague at around 8.30pm and was told his co-workers had to work through their break as their food had not arrived.

He returned from Burger King with his food before being confronted by a supervisor who said he hadn't requested permission to leave, which Mr Parkinson said was untrue.

He was signed off work with stress and anxiety on August 23, 2018 until February 2019 and, three months after his return, had a disciplinary hearing that saw him sacked.

He appealed the decision and his firing was overturned to a final warning.

In November, he was sacked again, prompting him to bring his employers to tribunal.

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