She's lovin' it: N.L. woman sues McDonald's and wins

A woman originally from Newfoundland has sued McDonald's in Ontario and won her case.

'I think that they just wanted to push me out,' says woman who worked at McDonald's for 25 years

The McDonald's franchise holding company appealed Esther Brake's lawsuit but Ontario's highest court upheld the decision this week. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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."

Esther Brake, originally from Newfoundland, won her case against McDonald's for constructive dismissal. (Submitted by Esther Brake)

But despite the difficult work, Brake thought everything was going well. 

"The store was running good, I was making money for them," she said. 

Extra value

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.

Several high-profile menu items from McDonald's restaurants. (nippekaye)

"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."

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore recently moved from Corner Brook, NL to join the CBC team in Fredericton. He's an associate producer with Information Morning.

with files from the Corner Brook Morning Show