A Sainsbury's worker who was sacked after more than a decade of service has been awarded a payout of "close to £10,000" after taking his case to a tribunal in Birmingham.
Steven Tyler, 28, had worked as a baker at the supermarket for 11 years when he was dismissed for leaving the store for just minutes to get change for a coffee.
Tyler, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, left his post during a night shift in August last year.
He has always claimed that he asked for and was given permission to do this. But he was fired after his manager decided that he had left without permission, an offence that amounted to "gross misconduct".
Having won his claim for wrongful dismissal this week, however, Tyler has now received compensation for his loss of earnings as well as severance pay.
He said: "I had worked there for 11 years and you expect some support after working there for so long.
"I just went out to get some money so I could get a coffee to keep me going through the night shift but they treated me like a criminal. It was disgusting the way I was treated and I'm relieved they have been made to pay up."
"When I applied for jobs after the sacking I was asked why I had left my old job and I had to tell them," he said.
"After that no one would get back to me. I became really depressed and had to be medicated. Now I can get my life back on track."
During the tribunal, Sainsbury's argued that employees could only leave the premises during the night with official permission because of "security and health and safety regulations".
A spokesman for Sainsbury's said: "To ensure that everyone who works on the night shift is safe, we ask our colleagues to seek permission before they leave the store. However, we accept that we applied the rules too vigorously on this occasion."