THE mum of a McDonald’s waitress who claims she was unfairly sacked for sprinkling too much chocolate on a McFlurry dessert has spoken of the family’s determination to fight to clear her name.
Sarah Finch, 19, was fired for gross misconduct for giving extra chocolate topping to a workmate for the 99p ice cream.
Sarah is taking her McDonald's restaurant to an employment tribunal after her bosses accused her of giving away food without payment. Speaking from the family home in Kidwelly yesterday, her mother, accountant Tessa Finch, said: "Sarah enjoyed working at McDonald's during her studies and was doing very well.
“Some people are a bit sneery about McDonald’s, but we thought they were a good company with good policies toward their young staff.
"But we have researched this and there are other cases of McDonald's workers who have been dismissed for what we believe are trivial reasons.
“My biggest concern is that McDonald’s have accused Sarah of theft. That is a terrible stain on her character and her employment record.
“When she goes for her next job she will be asked: “Why did you leave your last employ- ment?”
Mrs Finch said she had no concerns about taking the McDonald's franchise, run by the company Lonetree, to an employment tribunal.
She said: “I've always been happy to fight for the underdog.”
McDonald's described Sarah — who is studying for A-levels in chemistry, physics and biology — as an “exceptional employee” before sacking her from her £180-a-week job.
Sarah said in a statement: “I was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct. I was accused of stealing food.
“The matter was trivial, in that I provided a fellow employee, who was purchasing a dessert, a generous sprinkling of chocolate pieces.
“There is no standard for such measures — they are always imprecise and will vary among customers.
“My colleague had asked me: "Make it a nice one’’.
“So the measure I gave erred on the side of more than, rather than less than, the mean.’’
Sarah had worked at McDonald’s in Carmarthen for 18 months when she gave her colleague a generous portion of chocolate topping.
She said: “The issue was that I had done this in response to a specific request for someone I actually knew.
“Had it not been in response to a request, or it was someone I did not know, then I do not believe there would have been even a warning.”
Sarah said it was common practice for managers at the McDonald's to give away food to unhappy customers.
Her application for unfair dismissal is against franchise company Lonetree, who run a string of McDonald’s restaurants.
She has submitted her claim at the employment tribunal in Cardiff. A full hearing is due at a later date where she is represented by her mother Tessa.
Managing director Ron Mounsey confirmed he backed his manager’s decision to sack Sarah, who is being represented at the tribunal by her mother.
In a letter to Sarah’s mother, Mr Mounsey said: “I am aware of the circumstances of your daughter’s dismissal, where she has admitted giving away food to someone without receiving payment.
“This is classed as gross misconduct as per my employee handbook, the consequence is dismissal.
“My managers acted correctly according to my policies and I fully uphold their decisions.
“You may feel it is trivial, but with 740 employees in my business, if my management team were just to overlook such incidents then quickly it would become a free-for-all.
“This is and always has been a dismissable offence in my business.
“There are reminder notices in every one of my staff rooms reminding employees of this policy as well as the Employee Handbook.
“Employees are aware of the risk they take should they decide to do this. This will continue to be the case.’’