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Amusing Cases in the Area of Employment and Labour Law

DATE: 24.06.2011


Introducing a new section to the Ezine, the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ articles prove that there can be amusement in the area of employment and labour law.

McDonalds in a Pickle

In the town of Lemmer, in northern Netherlands, a worker was fired from the McDonald’s branch for giving a colleague on a break a more expensive cheeseburger rather than a standard hamburger. McDonalds claimed that the employee broke Company rules which prohibited the giving of free gifts to family, friends or colleagues.

In its judgment, the Dutch District Court stated that “the dismissal was too severe a measure” and that it was “just a slice of cheese”. The Court outlined that a written warning would have been a more appropriate punishment and ordered McDonalds to pay the former employee for the remaining five months of her contract, amounting to €4,265.47. The Court also ordered the Company to pay the employee’s legal costs.

Pulling (probably the best) perk from Carlsberg employees causes strike.

In April 2010, over 800 workers and drivers at the Danish brewer, Carlsberg went on strike over a 5 day period in protest at the company’s decision to limit free consumption of beer at work to lunch breaks.

On 1 April, the world’s fourth largest brewer took the decision to introduce new rules for employees on drinking beer at work. The change in policy was in a bid to prevent accidents in the workplace, particularly for those operating heavy machinery, and it was based on research that drinking can make productivity go flat.

Whilst soft drinks, milk and water continue to be freely available in refrigerators throughout the Carlsberg plants and offices, beer can only be obtained in the canteen. In addition, the ration has been cut from three pint-sized bottles to one bottle. Drivers retained an old right to three beers per day outside of lunch hours. Warehouse workers claimed the same right and went on strike on April 7, with other staff striking in sympathy.

The strike meant that there were no shipments from Copenhagen and delays in the rest of the country. Workers returned to work on foot of a commitment by management to enter talks with the workers trade union 3F. As an aside, Carlsberg spokesman outlined that Carlsberg’s trucks have alcohol locks so that drivers cannot “drink too much and drive”.


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