A BMW worker has been given £16,000 after being fired for going to Burger King during his lunch break.
In June 2018, Ryan Parkinson went to the popular fast-food restaurant for about an hour during an overtime shift while working at a BMW factory in Oxford.
He was scolded upon his return by bosses, who told him off for not telling them he had clocked off for lunch, however Parkinson insists he had.
He was subject to a disciplinary investigation in May 2019 and subsequently fired by GI Group, a recruitment agency that provides temporary contracts, before returning to his job after an appeal in June.
However, Parkinson was soon fired again on 25 November 2019 for gross misconduct after being accused of again leaving the factory site without telling supervisors in May 2019, which he disputed and he then successfully sued GI Group for unfair dismissal.
He was first fired when a supervisor said he ‘disappeared’ during an overtime shift at 7.50pm on Sunday, 17 June 2018.
Bosses said the BMW worker did not tell anyone he was leaving to go on break and he returned at 8.45pm.
The supervisor said he went home at 9:.5pm and appeared ‘upset’ and said he ‘did not wish to be here anymore’.
Three days after he was confronted about the incident, Parkinson was questioned by bosses and said the assembly team had finished a particular job and then began talking about food.
“Everyone wanted a kebab, and I said I wanted a Burger King,” Parkinson said. “My [co-workers] 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.”
Parkinson said: “At say, 8.38pm (my supervisor) asked where I had been, and he had been looking for me. I said that I went on my break and went to get Burger King.”
He was eventually signed off from work with stress at work and anxiety from 23 August until February 2019.
When he was dismissed a second time in November 2019, he brought his claim of unfair dismissal against GI Group. He told a tribunal hearing that the two trips were just to collect sandwiches.
The tribunal concluded that there was confusion over whether the former worker had been on-site during his break and that this detail was not investigated ‘reasonably’.
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.
“He left his place of work to visit his car to collect his sandwiches during a break.”
LADbible has contacted BMW and GI Group for comment.