Page last updated at 21:01 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

McDonald's 'wrong' to fire worker over cheese slice

File pic of Big Mac hamburger
McDonald's served 60 million customers a day in 2009

A McDonald's outlet in the Netherlands was wrong to sack an employee for giving a colleague a piece of cheese on a hamburger, a court has ruled.

The waitress was fired last March after she sold a hamburger to a co-worker who then asked for cheese, which she added.

The fast-food chain argued this turned the hamburger into a cheeseburger, and so she should have charged more.

But Leeuwarden district court ruled a written warning would have been more appropriate.

It is just a slice of cheese
Leeuwarden district court

McDonald's was ordered to pay the former employee more than 4,200 euros ($5,900; £3,660) for the last five months of her contract.

The fast-food chain had argued that the waitress - who was employed at a branch in the northern town of Lemmer - had broken staff rules prohibiting free gifts to family, friends or colleagues.

But the court said in its written judgement: "The dismissal was too severe a measure. It is just a slice of cheese," reports AFP news agency.

The ruling comes days after McDonald's reported an increase in net profits by almost a quarter in the last three months of 2009.

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