A woman originally from Newfoundland has won a super-sized court case against McDonald's for constructive dismissal.
Esther Brake, originally from the Bay of Islands, was managing a store in the Ottawa area when she was given an ultimatum — take a demotion or lose her job.
"I think, at the end of the day, they wanted to get rid of me because of my age, and I think that they just wanted to push me out," Brake told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.
Brake was 62 years old at the time and was managing a store that was going through a remodel.
"Basically, I was left on my own to do [it]," said Brake, who added she was working more than 60 hours a week at the time.
"It was very challenging, very, very challenging because I didn't know what I was doing."
But despite the difficult work, Brake thought everything was going well.
"The store was running good, I was making money for them," she said.
Brake, who started her career with McDonalds in Corner Brook and worked for the company for 25 years, hadn't received a performance evaluation during the time of the remodel.
"I think ... they wanted to get rid of me because of my age." - Esther Brake
A few months later, she was told her performance wasn't up to par and, as as result, she was being sent to a different location.
"I was being sent to the worst store in Canada," she said.
"I was just absolutely dumbfounded and shocked, because I didn't realize that I was doing that bad of a job."
Brake feels she was set up for failure at the location and was ultimately told to take a demotion or she'd lose her job.
Brake eventually sued the McDonald's franchise holding company that owns the Ontario restaurants where she worked — and several others in the Ottawa area — and won, but the company appealed the March 2016 decision.
This week, Brake, now 67, got her victory once again — when Ontario's top court ordered the company to pay up. Brake was awarded $104,499.33 for wrongful dismissal, plus interest and costs.
"The money is good, but it feels that I got a victory — that I won, and I won for myself," Brake said.
"I also won for other people who feel that they're in the same position I was in and afraid to take a company on like McDonald's or anybody else."