By Triplecaña [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Wagamama, the restaurant chain, has issued an apology after its staff were threatened with disciplinary action if ever they called in sick during the Christmas period.
A note was displayed on a rota in a branch of the restaurant that was located in London informing junior members of its staff that it was their responsibility to look for cover if they could do a shift.
It then went on to declare that anyone that would call in sick would face consequences.
The note stated: “No calling in sick! May I remind you that if you are unable to come for your shift, it is your responsibility to find somebody to cover your shift (as per contract and handbook).
“Calling in sick during the next two weeks will result in disciplinary action being taken.”
The said note sparked outrage on social media, and it was then shared by a division of the largest trade union in the United Kingdom, Unite, called Unite Hospitality.
As a response, Wagamama said that it was an “isolated incident” and that it was “strictly not company employment policy.”
In a series of post on Twitter, Wagamama UK tweeted: “Following reports of a notice posted in our North Finchley restaurant we can confirm this was an incident and is strictly not company employment policy.
“The manager involved feared team member shortages over the festive period and regrettably decided to take this highly unusual approach.
“As a company, we treat all our team with the greatest respect and understand and appreciate the hard work they all do.
“We sincerely apologise for what has happened, and we wish all our team members and customers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.”
However, a spokesperson for Unite Hospitality, Brian Simpson, is concerned that the incident is not a one-off.
Simpson stated: “To threaten workers with disciplinary action for being sick is not just morally reprehensible, it may be unlawful under the Health & Safety Act and Equality Act as it discriminates against those with long-term physical and mental health conditions.”
Simpson continued: “Although this is an extreme example, we do believe that the issue of sick staff being pressured to come into work is systematic across the company.
“We have heard from workers across the country that conditions have gotten worse and worse.
“We want to sit down with senior managers and see how we can improve conditions.”