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Pub worker ‘fired after refusing to arrive with Covid symptoms’

Rachael Baylis said there is a ‘toxic’ culture at The Walrus with people being pressured to work while unwell (Image: Kennedy News and Media/Supplied)

A woman says she was fired from her job at a pub after she refused to go to work with symptoms of Covid-19.

Rachael Baylis, whose positive PCR test was returned a day later, worked shifts at the Walrus bar in Brighton for three months.

She developed a cough and fever on Tuesday, and asked to leave her shift early.

But instead of being told that this was okay, she said she was told she needed to hide.

She told Metro.co.uk she continued her shift after this one despite being ill, as she had a lateral flow test done which came back negative.

But after finding out the next day that a colleague had tested positive, she texted her manager saying she was still sick, had arranged for a PCR test and would not come.

General manager Alan Endres told her in an email: ‘Hi Rachel, It’s company policy that you need to do LFT in order to be contracted for the job. If that’s positive, you put in a PCR and isolate until you get the results.

As she tried to find cover for her shift, another worker told her they had entered despite symptoms (Image: Provided)
Rachael received a positive PCR result yesterday

‘Please note the following is not acceptable if you don’t show up for tonight’s shift. “

Rachael, 22, responded that lateral flow tests are ‘known to be unreliable’ and that she was exhibiting two out of three NHS-recognized Covid symptoms.

“Personally, I don’t feel comfortable coming in unwell and potentially spreading it to both customers and staff, which would make staffing very difficult,” she said.

‘If you still want to refuse to understand my reasons then consider this as my notice.’

Her manager replied: ‘I do not accept your resignation because of the issues below.

‘I will be discussing with you in person today when to start your shift before the end of your probationary period.

‘You have shown a clear disrespect to management requirements/procedures in the last week, which peaked last night.

‘You threatened to go out several times last night.

The general manager of the pub told Rachael that she should still enter despite Covid symptoms
She replied that rapid tests do not pick up every positive case (Image: Provided)

“Change clothes and sit outside before you are told by the shift manager that you can finish.”

Rachael, a graduate of Philosophy, Politics and Ethics who moved to the city from Worcester for college, said she went out to get some air because she wasn’t feeling well and was told not to go home.

“I told management I was feeling sick and I was sitting outside to get some air in my jumpsuit and they were upset because I seemed to have changed,” she said.

‘That’s when I threatened to leave. As soon as I got there, someone said I looked like s**t. I also have a cough. ‘

Many of the people she served Tuesday, including a group of real estate agents, are at risk of testing positive for the virus right now, she added.

She said the reasons her manager gave her for firing her were mostly related to a shift she didn’t want to do because she was sick.

“I shouldn’t have worked, but I was afraid of losing my job so I went in anyway,” she said.

She had hoped to work shifts over Christmas for double pay and a bonus to help pay the rent.

“I’m going to miss Christmas anyway – and not even make any money from it,” she said.

She said she believes pubs have a ‘toxic work culture’ that ‘puts people at risk’ due to the pressure on people to come in while unwell.

After saying she would resign if expected to arrive while ill, she was later told she had been fired (Image: Provided)

People were asked to come to work just to prove they were really sick, she said.

A ‘rules of 2021’ document states: ‘If you are ill and cannot work your shift, you need to be covered by your shift.

‘If you can’t get cover, you need to come and then we’ll take you home. You can comfortably take a taxi in and back will be paid for by the pub. ‘

Rachael, who will start a new hiring role in the new year after recovering, said she believes her story illustrates the problems many hospitality workers face during the pandemic.

She called for better protections for hotel staff such as all workers receiving ‘safe and appropriate sick pay’ as well as ’employees’ rights guaranteed from day one. first, not just after two years’.

It comes amid calls for more government support for pubs and restaurants, who typically have their busiest week around Christmas. but is seeing dozens of lost bookings as in the case of the levitating Omicron.


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Walrus said the matter is now with their human resources department and they do not wish to comment.

A spokesman for The City Pub Group later said: ‘City Pub Group is aware of allegations that the company’s well-established Covid-19 safety protocols were not followed at our Brighton pub. me, The Walrus, regarding quarantine arrangements for one of our team members.

‘As a company, we value the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers, especially during the ongoing pandemic challenges. This takes precedence over any other consideration.

‘We are now urgently investigating all aspects of this situation to understand exactly what happened and what needs to be done to respond.

‘We do not wish to make any further comment on next steps until the facts of the case are clearly established.’

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said their environmental health team ‘has been in contact with The Walrus to ensure all procedures are being followed’.

Contact our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check out our news page.

https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/17/pub-worker-fired-after-refusing-to-come-in-with-covid-symptoms-15784992/?ITO=metro-trending Pub worker 'fired after refusing to arrive with Covid symptoms'

Emma Bowman

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