McDonald's Ordered To Pay $17,500 To Employee Who Got Fat On The Job

A former manager at a McDonald’s in Brazil won a lawsuit against the fast food giant, in which he claimed the company was the cause of the 65 pounds he packed on during his 12 years on the job.

From the AP:

The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample the food each day to ensure quality standards remained high, because McDonald’s hired “mystery clients” to randomly visit restaurants and report on the food, service and cleanliness.

The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job.

In a statement released after the ruling, McDonald’s said that not everything on its menu will make you fat: “The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees.”

The company says it is weighing the decision of whether or not to appeal the court’s ruling.

Judge: McDonald’s must pay obese employee $17.5K [AP]


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m gonna grab some popcorn for this debate…

  2. pop top says:

    THIS IS IN BRAZIL. Remember that when you start trying to cry about the US becoming an overly-litigious society.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      One of the US’s greatest exports. :D

    • peebozi says:

      yes. the US is not litigious at all. too many liars, er lawyers, in this country chasing ambulances.

      their tool of the trade is confusion…cause it then argue because of it. all billable hours. who knew there are more than 168 hours in a week?

    • The Marionette says:

      Only in america………….

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Judges have been known to use “international precedent” when deciding cases.

  3. LaurelHS says:

    The company offered free lunches to employees, they didn’t force the free lunches down his throat. Take responsibility for your own actions.

    • Gail says:

      Given the amount that McDonalds pays its managers, the free lunch is actually a nice perk. I know when I worked fast food, no one ever turned down the free lunch.

      • aloria says:

        I didn’t turn down the discounted/free food when I worked at BK, either, but I knew to limit myself to a kid’s meal sized portion to avoid getting huge.

        • jivesukka says:

          I work part time at the Golden Arches and it is easy to watch what you eat.

          Avoid the fries as much as possible (I love apple dippers!) or get a salad once in a while. A little trick I do with pop is smallest size, lots of ice (can’t drink a cold drink fast and also makes it harder to sip) and don’t use a straw (drink slower). Not exactly ground breaking but I don’t want to get fat.

      • guroth says:

        If a free lunch saves you $5 a day then that could be $100/mo, also equivalent to a 60 cent raise

        • LaurelHS says:

          I’m sure it is a nice perk, I just meant that if you’re concerned about the calorie content of the free lunch, you don’t have to accept it.

    • obits3 says:

      I can’t wait until the Brazil McDonalds says:

      “We are no longer offering free lunches to employees. You can thank [manager’s name].”

      – Send from my iDon’tcare

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        Greatest sig ever.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Awesome sig! I oughta try that!

        Sent from my iWhatever after I drank Dear Leader Steve Jobs’ Kool-Aid.

    • kujospam says:

      Actually you are forced, because your pay doesn’t get increased if you don’t take it.

    • Project_J187 says:

      Read the story.

      Free lunches were a small part of the problem. His real complaint is that Mcdonalds would send secret shoppers to check on the food and see if it was up to quality. This guy (being a manager) was afraid he would be fired if something wasn’t up to standards so he checked each batch of nuggets, fries and the occassional burger just to ensure the food quality was up to standard and he wouldn’t be fired.

      Not really a jerk for wanting to maintain quality control when his job was on the line. Also, not really deserving of the settlement but certainly deserving of being judged based on the story, not the 2 sentences you read before commenting.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    The company says it is “weighing the decision”.

    Unintended humour?

  5. aloria says:

    I would say that this guy MAYBE has a point if he wasn’t given enough time for his lunch breaks so that he had no other option but to eat McDonalds food every day. But being “forced to sample the food each day to ensure quality standards remained high” doesn’t mean you have to ingest a ton of calories. You only have to eat a few fries or nuggets or take a bite or two of a sandwich to make sure they taste right.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      What you described, at McDonald’s, IS a “ton of calories”

      • aloria says:

        Minimum caloric intake (to avoid starvation mode) for a man is ~1500 calories. A single chicken nugget, according to, is 35 calories. Two or three fries, let’s say 1/8th of a small fry order, would be 28.75 calories. A bite of a Big Mac, let’s say another 1/8th of the sandwich, is 62.5 calories. Total: 125.25 calories. That’s less than the average candy bar and only 8.4% of the daily minimum caloric intake.

        Now if he felt forced to sample EVERY SANDWICH variation they offered, that would be different, but I’d imagine it’d be easier to just take a bite of a bun, a patty, and sample a bit each of the condiments to ensure quality for the majority of menu items.

    • Milch says:

      “The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample the food each day”

      He “felt” forced to sample. Wont help with quality unless he takes a sample of everyones order. Feeling forced to do it is not being forced. Also, I worked in an E.R. for a couple years, considering we had 20-30 minutes to grab a lunch on our 12 hour shifts there is a lot he couldve done to eat healthier. Nothing was truely forced onto him.

      • kmw2 says:

        Uh, no. McDonald’s quality control measurements require the shift manager to actually taste the food, it’s not a choice.

        • Milch says:

          I dont work food service and thats not what was reported. What was reported is that he “felt” forced to do it.

        • haggis for the soul says:

          Do they force them to swallow? And I’m guessing they wouldn’t expect anyone to gulp a Big Mac every hour.

      • MistahFixit says:

        Considering I’ve worked at a McDonald’s and had to go as long as six hours without my first sitting break, much less my lunch-break, it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

        Yes the food must be tested for ‘quality control’, but the policies at the places I worked did not require actual consumption of the food. Visual inspection and Pyrometer were good enough. (Even though the device in question a thermometer, but that’s a whole other arguement)

        Anyways, the average McWageSlave’s lunch break is 20 minutes; 30, if the manager feels like cutting you a break.

        McD Head Office (Canada) stipulates that a shift less than 4 hours has no breaks,
        between 4 and 5, you get 15 minutes total;
        5 to 6, you get 30 minutes total
        For shifts 7 hours or longer, you get an additional ten minutes for every hour past the first six.

        The shift manager can choose to split up your break time in whatever way he/she seems to think is convenient. Which I can guarantee will almost never end up being convenient for the employee. The other caveat for said break-time was that we could not be absent from the premises for more than X minutes. So, unless you bought or prepared your lunch beforehand, you were S.O.L.

  6. jetsaredim says:

    “weighing the decision” – you really went there, didn’t ya?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      With the legal payout, the employee sure got his piece of the pie.

  7. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    I packed on 70 lbs., over ten years, after going from a job in a hotel baquet dept. to a job in an office. I blame sitting on my ass for ten years and eating cake in the break room. Who can I sue? Eh, too lazy…. ooooh, more cupcakes in the break room.

    • Bativac says:

      I’ve put on 20 pounds since I started this office job a few years ago. Now that time away from our desks is restricted, we’re getting fatter and more of us have developed back problems (at age 31!!!). Maybe there’s something to this…

    • Shmoodog says:

      Being a ridiculously skinny kid for most of my life, I didn’t start to add weight until…I started an office job after college, and began sitting on my ass for hours upon hours a day.

      Not to mention the office cupcakes, holidays when clients send cartons of flavored popcorn and chocolate covered strawberries, and mid day runs for sugar when nothing else was forthcoming.

      Oh, and getting older DOESN’T help.

      • Doubts42 says:

        I can sympathize. now that i work at a desk i occasionally look down at the developing beer gut and miss waiting tables.

    • denros says:

      While having a sedentary job certainly doesn’t help, having a job where you’re moving around alot isn’t a panacea for weight-gain. There’s plenty of mailmen, delivery people, and construction workers out there with pretty respectable beerguts as well.

    • thor79 says:

      Just because you work in an office, doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary all the time. Offset your work style with your lifestyle at home. When you get home go for a job every night. get some weights and work out. The sedentary job certainly doesn’t help keep you in shape, but it is not the sole reason for being a fat ass. Get off your ass when you get home and you can keep yourself from being a fat ass.

    • Mamudoon says:

      Ugh, I packed on a ton of weight when I went from going to college in the city (and walking everywhere – thought nothing of walking fifty blocks or more) to a job in the unwalkable suburbs where I sat on my ass for ten hours a day, without changing my eating habits. What’s funny is that my eating habits were horrendous when I lived in the city (think leftover stromboli for breakfast), but I was the skinniest I had ever been simply because I walked everywhere.

      I miss it. I’d move back in a flash if I didn’t have to pay $1200 a month for a mice-infested hovel with walls that bend when you lean on them.

      And totally off-topic, but your username is awesome.

  8. u1itn0w2day says:

    Brazil, supposedly the next up and coming superstar outsourcing location of the third world want to be capitalists. We’ll it seems they have already passed their legal capitalist lesson.

    I can see a third worlder getting fat on US capitalist food simply because they now have access to food period.

    • enomosiki says:

      Ah, Brazil… The first-world-wannabe still stuck in third-world level that not only deludes itself by demanding the U.S. should pay to protect their precious Amazon but also think that they deserve a seat on the permanent seat on the UNSC.

      And that’s just only two of the absurdities that I can think of at this very moment.

  9. c!tizen says:

    It’s over before it even started. Anyone that has ever been to a McD’s knows that there are no “quality standards” for their food. Case dismissed.

    Or, if the big D wants to be especially harsh, they’ll settle for a tredmill and a dick of a trainer that makes him run 5 miles everyday until he’s lost 65 pounds. That is what I’d call justice.

  10. Pooterfish says:

    Obviously it’s not in the US. Here, the guy would have been awarded $1.75 million by a jury.

    • spanky says:

      You really think so?

      You know that there has never been a successful obesity lawsuit in the US? And that the insurance industry managed to gin up enough inchoate fear of some impending obesity lawsuit epidemic that they passed tort reform measures that explicitly prohibit obesity claims?

  11. chocolate1234 says:

    Give me a break. I used to work in an ice cream parlor and was able to eat everything for free and take home whatever I wanted. On top of ice cream, they sold limited food options, which were all really bad. I didn’t gain any weight. Granted I was younger then, but I also was conscious at that age about how much crap I should put into my body, and even though it was free, I didn’t eat everything. If the guy really needed to sample the food, he could have taken one bite. He didn’t need to eat an entire cheeseburger, or pack of fries. Take some personal responsibility.

  12. evnmorlo says:

    Making him sample the food without spitting it out should definitely be a worker-safety violation.

  13. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    Um. Offer *does not equate* Must Accept.
    “The company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job.”

    **Just another case of no self responsibility. I worked as a waitress for a place which required us to eat “comp” meals there, at lunch break — I didn’t get fat – I quit.

    • Wombatish says:

      Just because you ‘in theory’ have the power to quit doesn’t mean they should be able to get away with whatever they want.

      I too worked at a restaurant where my ‘lunch break’ was ‘shit we screwed up this order – it’s your break now, have some free food. You have to eat it so it isn’t wasted and can’t leave though’.

      I wanted to quit, and did so as soon as I was able. But for a while there? My boyfriend, who I live with, had been laid off. I couldn’t afford it.

      I had to get another job expressly lined up and ready to go. The day I quit I drove immediately over there and started my training shift. That was the only way I could swing it, and even then our already stretched budget got even thinner until I was completely on the schedule and out of training.

      Just like having breaks like that aren’t illegal doesn’t make it ok either. If that restaurant had been a chain (or was still open) after I escaped I would want people to know who they were and how they treat their employees. If it bothers them, they can spend their money elsewhere. If it doesn’t, more power to them.

      Not saying that’s what happened in this McDonalds situation. Just saying that the fact that an employee can quit shouldn’t let companies be completely off the hook in every sense.

  14. Abradax says:

    It’s McDonalds…

    Who expects quality in the first place? I’m happy when the guy making the burger can get the meat between the buns.

  15. xr1ddl3rx says:

    ok so they doubled his salary. big deal.

  16. TerpBE says:

    While it’s a bad precedent, the judgment is really just like they gave him a retroactive raise of 73 cents an hour.

  17. johnny_ryall says:

    i’ve aged 5 years while at my job, can i sue someone over that yet?

  18. leprechaunshawn says:

    Just because they offer free lunches to employee’s doesn’t mean the employee’s have to accept.

    My employer offered free flu shots this year. It was really easy to say no.

  19. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Watch the films Bowling for Morgan, Portion Size Me, and Me and Mickey D, movies in which the people disclose what they ate, something that, IIRC, Morgan Spurlok STILL hasn’t done. These people ate nothing BUT McDonalds and lost weight and some had improved cholesterol.

    Of course, this was Brazil, and some countries have wacky laws and standards for them. Look at the UK. Over there, if I say something bad about someone, and they file suit against me, I am guilty until proven innocent, and I have to prove that what I said is correct, even if the other party receives no negative effect or harm from my statement.

    • denros says:

      I worked at McDonald’s for three years in highschool, and ate like what I now consider to be completely horrible. Double quarter pounders, supersized meal with large chocolate shake, added bacon onto it if I was feeling spendy (we only got 50% discounts on our meals).
      I chalk it up partly to my hummingbird-like metabolism, but at 6’3″ I probably topped out at 150 lbs. I was and still am very active, and most other people that worked there (most ate less than me) did at least gain 10-15 lbs, even if they were only there for a year.

    • Not Given says:
  20. javert says:

    Wow. Seems to be free money being handed out in Brazil.

  21. Macgyver says:

    He tasted the food for quality. What quality? McDonald’s taste like shit. There is no quality.
    People aren’t forced to eat there because they give free lunch. The employees have a choice not to eat it, they weren’t forcing anyone to eat it.
    So if people get fat, it’s their own problem.

  22. Mcshonky says:

    if the girls -or guys- of Ipanema can’t keep you in shape nothing will help.

  23. Chooi says:

    This is absolutely absurd. He didn’t HAVE TO eat the food and certainly could have eaten smaller portions and/or the more healthy items on the menu. What a load of crap.

  24. AllanG54 says:

    I call bull on this. My son worked at MickeyD’s for five years from the age of 14-19. Never gained a pound and hardly ever ate the food. Of course, by the time he was 16 he was also a blackbelt in karate and an instructor all while going to high school so maybe he burned off the calories.

  25. common_sense84 says:

    “The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job.”

    Dear god. This is a required perk. Any food establishment that cannot give a paid lunch is scamming it’s employees.

  26. waltcoleman says:

    God help the rest of the world if the US is now exporting the blameless society.

  27. redline says:

    If this isn’t turned over on appeal, McDonalds should do the same thing that Walmart did when forced by a Canadian judge to unionize employees – close down. No more McDonalds for Brazil.

  28. balthisar says:

    Tasting for quality? McDonald’s is the ultimate form of engineering. There’s no reason to taste food for quality. It comes out the same every time.

  29. FrankReality says:

    The death of personal responsibility is spreading like the plague.

  30. Clyde Barrow says:

    65 pounds packed on during his 12 years on the job? Is this guy joking? Did he take into consideration that maybe he has the type of body that cannot eat this type of food? Everyone is different and it isn’t McD’s fault. I hope that they appeal.

  31. Kingeryck says:

    It’s not as if he’s got cancer or lost a leg. Stop eating McDonald’s and work out and voila, you’re not fat anymore. Stupid pig.

  32. Duckula22 says:

    How is this McD’s fault?

  33. maruawe says:

    this is ridiculous mac D’s is paying for this person’s self indulgence of free food and then blaming them for his own stupidity. This is like buying hot coffee and then complaining that it’s hot or spilling it on yourself and crying mac d’s is at fault……..stupid,stupid,stupid for mac D’s to fall for this type of scam especially from an employee……..what is this world coming to that people are not responsible for their own actions……PS i don’t like fast food but can eat reasonably and maintain my 180 pound frame at 68 years old, a younger person should be able to do the same thing.

  34. crazydavythe1st says:

    I worked at McDonald’s when I was younger that gave out free meals.

    There weren’t a lot of employees gaining weight. You were usually running around to much to gain weight from one high caloric meal, as long as everything else you ate that day was relatively healthy. When done right, fast food is a very hectic job that keeps you moving on your feet for hours on end.

    Snarky as it sounds, the only heavy employees was the actual store manager and asst. store manager that sat around in their offices for hours on end. The crew members and shift managers were never heavy.

  35. thrashanddestroy says:

    Well, we already know Brazil’s “legal system” is a joke when professional athletes like Arturo Gatti are murdered with little investigation into the crime…why not rule in favor of the employee, right?

    Yeah, you had to taste the food. Swallowing it isn’t necessary to determine whether or not the food is up to company standards, nor is accepting the free meal offered by them. Apparently the notion of exercise never entered this employee’s mind either.

  36. privax says:

    October 29, 2010 1:52 PMModerate |Flag for review It’s McDonalds…

    Who expects quality in the first place? I’m happy when the guy making the burger can get the meat between the buns.

    — Pause. heh

  37. pyrobryan says:

    I’m going to sue the people who made my couch. I feel forced to sample its quality by sitting and or lying on it for several hours every day to ensure that when company comes over they will have an acceptable place to sit. I also need to make sure that the definition on my TV is properly high so that said company will be able to enjoy the clarity at its intended levels, so I’m adding the manufacturer of the TV to the lawsuit. Together they inhibited my ability to get the proper amount of exercise and make my own decisions and I have gained about 5 pounds in the year that I’ve had it.