Opinion: This Burnaby server asked for a break following quarantine. She was canned for it

Chris Campbell

Have you had to quarantine yet due to COVID-19?

I haven’t so I don’t know exactly what it must be like, but figuring it’s pretty stressful.

Amy had to quarantine. She’s a local server who has put her safety on the line ever since the start of the pandemic.

Amy (who doesn’t want her real name used because she’s trying to find work) worked even during the lockdown as her employer was doing takeout-only service.

When the lockdown was lifted, she continued to risk her personal safety by working – all the while seeing her tips drop to a fraction of what they were pre-pandemic.

But she kept at it until, in September, she was ordered quarantine because a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19.

It wasn’t easy. It took a lot out of her emotionally and so she asked her boss for some compassion.

“This was very difficult for me and when my quarantine was nearly over, I expressed to my boss that I needed a few days to heal emotionally before returning to work,” Amy said. “I made a commitment to return on the following Sunday, three days after I was cleared from solitude, which he accepted reluctantly. I later expressed, very delicately, some concerns about my safety and the current work conditions for service staff via email.”

And how did her boss repay her for all that sacrifice and risk?

The following week, she discovered she was not on the schedule. She was told a date she was supposed to come for a meeting.

“When I arrived, he had my severance check waiting,” Amy said. “He said that he couldn't count on me as an employee moving forward. I was devastated for so many reasons … Since then, I have looked into options with the labour relations board not because I want money, but because it shouldn't be legal to fire someone for needing time to heal from a trauma or having an opinion about their safety at work.”

Incredible. Just absolutely heartless. And bosses can do this because there are a lot of people out of work right now. So workers have to keep quiet and just take whatever abuse and danger that comes their way.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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