“Valued employee” allegedly forced to work with broken ribs

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An employee of a McDonald’s food franchise in Orewa has alleged that her boss forced her to carry on working despite having broken ribs which were causing her to cough up blood in front of customers.

Stephanie Phillips was admitted to hospital after working half of her eight hour shift at the franchise, and said that half of one of her lungs was full of blood.

The member of staff who allowed Phillips to leave was allegedly reprimanded, as in doing so they had failed to comply with orders that she must stay for the entirety of her shift.

A McDonald’s spokesman said that neither the franchisee nor the McDonald’s had been contacted by Unite – the worker’s union – or Phillips herself about the incident.

“We question why Unite Union has chosen to raise the alleged incident via the media, rather than directly with us,” the spokesman said. “As always, we would investigate any claims put to us.”

Speaking at a Unite conference in Auckland this week, Phillips shared details of the incident.

According to Phillips, she had been told by her employer that she was considered a “valued employee” and had the potential to progress to management level – but when she broke three ribs and punctured her lung she was expected to carry on working.

She also claimed that she had previously been told that she could leave work for medical reasons if this was necessary, but when she started to cough up blood at work this assurance proved to be an empty promise.

The acting manager tried to cover the shift, and contacted the manager seeking permission to send Phillips home.

Phillips claimed that when he eventually sent her home against the manager’s instruction, he “got into a lot of trouble.”

Phillips has spoken out against her employer to back Unite’s attack on zero hour contracts. 

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