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Barmaid Claims She Was Sacked For Having Covid

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Barmaid Claims She Was Sacked For Having Covid

A barmaid has claimed she was sacked from her job after she refused to come to work with coronavirus symptoms.

Rachael Baylis had worked at The Walrus bar in Brighton before developing a cough and a fever.

The 22-year-old instantly recognised these as symptoms of Covid-19, and decided to take a lateral flow to see whether she was infectious.

Rachael did not want to make her colleagues or customers sick (Credit: Kennedy)
Rachael did not want to make her colleagues or customers sick (Credit: Kennedy)
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While her results came back as negative, she was concerned that she could have the potentially deadly virus and decided to wait for the results of a PCR test until she returned to work.

However, emails that she says are from her boss show him demand she work as normal that evening, asserting that showing symptoms wasn't an 'acceptable' reason to not turn up her for shift.

Furious Rachael offered her notice of resignation, however the messages appear to show her manager refuse to accept and instead sack her for 'showing a clear lack of respect' towards management.

Rachael was concerned about having Covid-19 (Credit: Kennedy)
Rachael was concerned about having Covid-19 (Credit: Kennedy)
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Speaking out about the incident, Rachael explained: “I wasn't upset or sad, I was just angry. How can they get away with this? How can they force sick staff to come in?

It's a public health concern. They don't respect sickness and health.

"I couldn't get out of bed and they wanted me to go into work.

"I wasn't shocked that the lateral flow was negative because they can be inaccurate.

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"I told him I was going to do a PCR and he said I couldn't not go in.

However, Rachael's manager chose to sack her (Credit: Kennedy)
However, Rachael's manager chose to sack her (Credit: Kennedy)

"I wasn't surprised at all. He couldn't accept I wasn't doing what he told me to do. It just didn't make logical sense.

"I wasn't going to risk other members of staff and customers.”

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Rachael has since received the results of her PCR test, which she says show she is indeed suffering from Covid-19.

In emails between Rachael and her alleged former boss, she explains that lateral flows are inaccurate and she was concerned about potentially infecting other customers.

“Lateral flows are notoriously unreliable with only a 60 per cent accuracy rate and I'm displaying 2/3 symptoms of Covid,” she said.

"Another staff member has also tested positive for Covid therefore it's even likelier I could have it.

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"I am not personally comfortable coming in whilst unwell and with potential to spread to both customers and staff which would make staffing very difficult should all of us get it.

The rules urge people showing symptoms to isolate (Credit: Kennedy)
The rules urge people showing symptoms to isolate (Credit: Kennedy)

Rachael continued: "I will have my PCR tests back tomorrow and I will try to find someone to cover my shift but I will not be coming in for the benefit of not spreading anything to the remaining team.

"If you still wish to misunderstand my reasons then consider this my notice."

However, in retaliation, Rachel’s employer said instead of accepting her resignation that he was choosing to sack her, saying Rachael had “a clear lack of respect for management requests/procedures” and scolded her for “sitting outside” before her shift ended last night.

Explaining what happened, Rachael said: “On Tuesday I told management I felt ill and I sat outside for some air with my jumper on and they were annoyed that I was apparently getting changed.

The Walrus Pub is in Brighton (Credit: Kennedy)
The Walrus Pub is in Brighton (Credit: Kennedy)

"That's when I threatened to walk out. As soon as I got there, someone said I looked like sh*t. I was coughing as well."

Rachael started working at The Walrus part time in September before going full time in November. She is now set to start a new position in recruitment next week.

Rachael said: "Luckily I'm in a position where I could say f*ck this job.

"I've tried to follow as many rules as possible but it's been hard to do that, financially.

"Because I work in a pub, I'm around people a lot and I've had to isolate a few times which has meant I've lost money. I'm glad I stuck to my guns."

The City Pub Group's website says that they are complying with the government's guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19.

It states: "We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home in our Support Centre and Bookings teams.

"We are regularly completing staff health assessments to ensure fitness to work.

"We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain safe distances in the workplace in line with current guidance and recommendations.

"Where people cannot maintain safe distances, we have done everything practical to manage transmission risk."

Rachael was urged to come in despite showing symptoms (Credit: Kennedy)
Rachael was urged to come in despite showing symptoms (Credit: Kennedy)

A spokesperson for The City Pub Group said: "The City Pub Group is aware of allegations that the company's well-established Covid-19 safety protocols were not followed at our Brighton pub The Walrus, in relation to isolation arrangements for one of our team members.

"As a company we place paramount importance on the health and welfare of our colleagues and customers, particularly during the ongoing pandemic challenges. This takes precedence over any other considerations.

"We are now urgently investigating all aspects of this situation to understand precisely what has happened and what needs to be done in response.

"We do not wish to make any further comments on next steps until the facts of the case have been established clearly." 

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News Media

Topics: Health, News, Coronavirus

Kimberley Bond
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