Terminated for giving friends free food

James was working for a large fast food chain in Newcastle. It was his first job which he worked on the weekends and evenings while still going to school. James worked with a few mates from school who would regularly give away free food to their friends. Believing it would be okay because everyone else was doing it, James also started giving away food for free.

James’ manager discovered what he was doing and dismissed James for breaching company policy. After he was dismissed, James contacted the SDA to see if there was anything that could be done. When investigated the issue, SDA Industrial Officer Brendon uncovered the “everybody was doing it” culture. However, it is very hard to prove that management and other team members were also breaching the policy and therefore James should be treated no differently. In this case James blatantly breached the company policy and even though others were allegedly doing the same thing, James’ dismissal was final.

What James should have done

The lesson in this situation is to know your companies’ policies and procedures. Know the code of conduct, if you don’t you should talk to your line manager. Just because “everybody is doing it” does not mean it is okay.

Remember to also be careful when buying discounted food. Fast food chains will generally provide their staff with discounts when buying food, it is important to understand the rules of this agreement, and make sure you don’t get yourself in a situation where you breach company policy.


*Name changed for the privacy of the member.

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