The McDonald's corporation has just received a rude awakening in the Netherlands. Evidently, they thought they could abuse their European employees the same way they do their American employees. They were wrong.
It all started last March, when one of their waitresses sold a hamburger to a co-worker. Then the co-worker asked for cheese and she gave it to him (without charging extra for the cheese). McDonald's fired the waitress.
The company said the addition of that single slice of cheese made the hamburger a cheeseburger and the waitress should have charged more for it. They said the waitress had violated staff rules which prohibited free gifts to family, friends or colleagues.
The waitress sued the company over the termination. I think McDonald's was surprised when the Dutch court sided with the waitress (after all, it was one whole slice of cheese -- never mind the fact that they undoubtedly still made a profit on the burger).
The court agreed the waitress had done wrong, but said a written reprimand would have been more appropriate. But the beautiful part was the courts reasoning. They wrote, "The dismissal was too severe a measure. It is just a slice of cheese." The court awarded the waitress 4,200 euros ($5,900) for the remaining five months of her contract.
So the company gets to pay the waitress for her remaining time, but don't get a minute's worth of work out of her. And the worst part -- they're still out a whole slice of cheese.