Subway Franchise Owner Fires Employee For Being Charitable

The owner of a Subway franchise in Nova Scotia has fired an employee for giving a free sandwich that she was entitled to as an employee to two homeless men after their apartment caught on fire:

A Dartmouth, N.S. woman says that she was fired from a Subway restaurant for helping two neighbours left homeless and hungry after an apartment fire.

Last week’s apartment fire did not affect Heidi Heise’s unit, but left some neighbours homeless, and she offered them her place.

Heise says when the neighbours came to thank her at the nearby Subway restaurant she works at, she gave them each one free six-inch sub to alleviate their hunger.

“I felt sorry for them, I tried to help them out,” she told CTV Atlantic.

But when she went to work on Wednesday, she said she was told she was fired for giving away the subs.

“They were like, ‘We went over the cameras and we (saw) you on the weekend, give away a free sub,'” she told CTV Atlantic.

The two six-inch subs are the equivalent of one 12-inch sub, which Subway employees are entitled to as a staff lunch, which must be marked down.

She said because of everything going on, she forgot to mark it down.

Assuming that this woman is telling the truth, which seems a valid assumption given that it has been substantiated by others, this strikes me as an overly strict interpretation of company policy, and an instance of incredibly bad public relations on the part of the franchise owner. One would think that Subway itself will be in contact with the franchise owner about this at some point in the near future.

H/T: Jonathan Turley

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rebecca Burlingame says:

    Life is not a lot of fun when every single thing has to be done by the book. Still, one wonders if they were just looking for an excuse to fire her.

  2. JKB says:

    While she has come up with a good story on Wednesday, over the weekend she committed theft for which she was fired. So why were they reviewing the cameras? Did she really just give them a properly proportioned sub with no drink or chips or cookie?

    Perhaps in this instance, there might be grounds for understanding but based on the evidence he/she had, video of subs being given away, no record of employee sandwich, etc. the firing was appropriate. Generally, employee discounts/freebie are restricted to employee consumption only to avoid them being used as excuses for pilfering.

  3. Sookie says:

    OK, so they let this slide. Next week another employee gives away 2 free subs to… some friends who were short till payday. They were hungry and he was entitled to the subs to eat.

    A day or two later another employee gives away 2 free subs to her boyfriend. He was hungry and she was ‘entitled’ to them… and could do as she wished?

    Pretty soon every employee is giving away some or all of their food allowance. So when does it not become OK?

    Every place I worked as a waitress when in college, food allowances were sort of like sick pay (which we didn’t have at all but that’s another story). It was only yours if you used it. You couldn’t take it on top of your pay regardless if you used it or not. You couldn’t give it away. Occasionally you might get by with taking it home to eat, if it had been a very busy or short handed shift and you stayed out on the floor to keep things from snowballing.

    Sick hours might be earned but are not generally ‘vested’ for lack of a better word and neither was the food allowance that I earned when I waited tables all those many years ago. It was not mine to give away. It was only mine if I used it, during the shift.

    You know if she had gone to the boss and said these 2 people were burned out of their apartment at the complex where I live. They lost everything and are hungry. Is there anything we can to do help them. I’ll forgo my food allowance. I think only the most hard hearted of bosses would probably say no. I’ve worked for a few of those too.

    However what they saw was an employee giving food away without charging for it. That’s theft. They were well within their rights to fire her and I’d be surprised if the head office says one damn thing to them.

    Too bad this is portrayed in absolutely the wrong way. That she didn’t have that authority to do what she did. That in fact what she did was wrong… but perhaps she could have gotten what she wanted by asking if it was OK, first.