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Judge: McDonald's Must Pay Obese Employee $17.5K

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 (Reuters)

A Brazilian court ruled this week that McDonald's must pay a former franchise manager $17,500 because he gained 65 pounds while working there for a dozen years.

The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample the food each day to ensure quality standards remained high, because McDonald's hired "mystery clients" to randomly visit restaurants and report on the food, service and cleanliness.

The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job. His identity was not released.

The ruling was signed Tuesday by Judge Joao Ghisleni Filho in Porto Alegre. 

Ghisleni said McDonald's could appeal the case, and the Brazilian headquarters of the chain said in an e-mailed statement Thursday it was weighing its legal options.

McDonald's also noted that it offers healthier food choices.

"The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees," the company said in the statement.

McDonald's headquarters is in Oak Brook, Illinois.