Kalloponi Comércio de Alimentos v Unidentified Respondent (2010) H&FLR 2014-13
Regional Labour Court of Rio Grande do Sul
26 October 2010
Coram: Not reported.
Appearing for the Appellant: Not reported
Appearing for the Respondent: Vilson Natal Arruda Martins
Catchwords: Brazil – workers compensation – McDonald’s – manager obesity – required to consume products – meal break – mystery shoppers – compensation – liability
Facts: The appellant operated a McDonald’s franchise in Brazil. It employed the respondent as manager of one of its restaurants over a twelve year period. It was alleged that over this time his weight increased from around 70 kilograms (154 pounds) to 105 kilograms (231 pounds), by which time he was classed as obese. The respondent alleged that this was caused by the appellant’s policy of using “mystery shoppers” to assess the cleanliness, quality and management of its stores, which resulted in him needing to taste hamburgers, fries, soft drinks and ice cream regularly. He further alleged that, during meal breaks, the appellant’s employees were provided with a meal consisting of a burger, fries and soft drink which could not be exchanged for cash or food stamps. He further asserted that his work required long and irregular hours with inadequate rest breaks.
The respondent sought compensation from the appellant for his obesity. The claim was upheld at first instance and compensation was awarded of R40,000 (Brazilian Reals). The employer appealed.
Held: allowing the appeal in part and rejecting it in part –
1. Although genetic factors and a sedentary lifestyle were possible causes of obesity, this did not relieve the employer of liability.
2. While it was the worker’s responsibility to adopt a healthy diet, the conditions of his employment had forced him to consume the employer’s products.
3. The compensation awarded was properly to be reduced from R48,000.00 to R30,000.00. However, the appellant was required to assist the respondent to cover the costs of medical treatment aimed at weight reduction.
The court appears to have had regard to the fact that master brewers and winemakers are regularly compensated for developing alcoholism as a result of their duties.
It appears dissenting judgments were entered but details are not available.
A copy of the Court’s written reasons cannot be located. Details in this report were obtained from the press office of the Court, the website of the firm Barça & Associates, the accounts in the journals Zero Hora and Economia & Negócios, and the blogs Nosso Povo, and Blog da Saúde. Translations by Google.
An appeal was considered but appears not to have been pursued.