A former Little Chef waitress has lost a compensation claim for unfair dismissal after being sacked for taking home a slice of apple pie.
Lynn Smith said she took home the dessert after she had been too busy to finish her lunch allowance during her shift at the Little Chef restaurant in Talke, Staffordshire, where she worked.
However, the roadside chain has banned employees from taking company food off premises and dismissed Smith after catching her leaving with the pie on CCTV footage.
While Smith had been given permission to eat the pie at the restaurant by Little Chef management, they insisted that she knew she was breaking company rules by taking it home.
Tribunal judge Maureen Connelly said: "Mrs Smith knew it was against the company's rules about misappropriating food. She admitted taking the pie and should not have taken the pie away."
The tribunal heard that Smith had also been involved in a dispute about a burger, which she had given to a customer free of charge as she had been too busy cashing up to take payment. The waitress made two appeals against the dismissal decision, but was finally told she had lost her job in November.
Ruling that Smith was not entitled to compensation for unfair dismissal, Connelly said: "The respondents acted within the bounds of reasonable responses in dismissing the claimant."
A spokeswoman for Little Chef added: "The majority of national catering businesses in the UK have specific rules surrounding the unauthorised removal of food from premises and Little Chef is no different.
"The tribunal judge accepted that we acted within the bounds of reasonable behaviour and we now consider the issue to be closed."
By Kerstin Kühn
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