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24/09/04 . by Unknown . One News . New Zealand
NZ: McDonald's worker demands compensation
A fast food worker who claims she was instructed to take off her shirt by management looking for stolen property is demanding compensation.
Alice Hudson, 17 is one of three employees of a Dunedin McDonald's franchise who have filed grievance cases because they say they were bullied out of their jobs.
Hudson was working at the McDonald's restaurant in may when a cellphone went missing. She claims she was taken aside by managers and asked to take off her shirt.
"So I was left standing in my singlet top, and then they asked me to pull up my trouser legs and they felt around my socks. Then they went through all my personal belongings." She says other employees personal belongings were also searched.
Alice didn't initially question the move because she was unaware it could have been unlawful. "I didn't know I had the choice. They didn't ask me if I wanted to, they just kind of instructed me to remove my shirt."
In Dunedin on Friday a picket was held outside the McDonald's in question, but Alice's grievance wasn't the only one being aired.
Others picketing claim pregnant workers were forced to resign and the union claims holiday pay was withheld from employees who had been fired, unless they produced letters of resignation. "There seems to be a culture of bullying at the George St McDonald's. Teenage kids being intimidated. getting forced to leave their jobs and it's unacceptable," William Clark from the Autonomous Workers Union said.
Three former employees have sent letters to the franchise owner demanding re-instatement and up to $10,000 in back pay and compensation.
The owner, who was out of town when One News tried to contact him, says he
has not seen the letters and knows nothing of the former employees
complaints. He told One News he could not comment on the allegation until
he has spoken to legal advisors.