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People dining at the Burger King restaurant in Toronto.
People dining at the Burger King restaurant in Toronto.
Roberto Machado Noa—LightRocket/Getty Images

A Burger King employee in Canada was fired three years ago for stealing a fish sandwich, fries and orange soda. This month, she won $46,000 in court.

"Given the absence of any evidence of premeditation or attempted concealment, the absence of any formal discipline history, Ms. Ram's excellent and lengthy record working with [the area manager], the nature of her position and her economic vulnerability as a 55-year-old woman with little education who had worked as a fast food cook for 24 years, summary dismissal would not be a proportionate sanction," Justice Lisa Warren wrote in her reasons for the judgment. She awarded the employee Usha Ram $21,000, a year's lost wages, and $25,000 in aggravated damages.

The court documents show the issue was apparently a misunderstanding. Ram says she forgot her wallet one day and asked the general manager if she could take some food for free at the end of her shift. She thought her boss had said yes; later her boss said she had only agreed to the fish sandwich, not the fries or soda.

Ram was suspended in December 2013 and fired from her job in January 2014. The court documents say that the food Ram took resulted in just a 50-cent loss to Burger King.