witness statement

name: Sarah Baker
section: Employment
for: The Defence
experience: McDonald's crew member, Sidcup, Kent, Jan - May 1985


Having informed the company of her pregnancy, the witness, with her under-manager, agreed dispensation for 'lighter' work duties. Returning to work after a short spell in hospital, the witness was put on 'normal' work duty and was refused the aforementioned 'lighter' duties. The witness was subsequently sent home and later dismissed after the situation deteriorated, with the management of the store accusing the witness of dishonesty. Later that year the witness claimed for unfair dismissal and received compensation from the corporation.

The statement also outlines work practices and procedural operations in the Sidcup store which contravened both stated policy and employment legislation.


My name is Sarah Baker and I was employed by the McDonald corporation at the Sidcup fast food branch between January 5th and May 29th 1985.

Full cv: (not available for this witness)

full statement:

In May 1985 I was pregnant for my first child. I had informed my manager in March 1985 of my condition. It was agreed between myself and my under manager, Mr Cassey, that I was to be allowed to work on the lobby till and in the back room only and that I should not work on the fry station because of my condition. During the early part of the month of May 1985 I was away from work because I had a bad kidney and bladder infection. This infection was a risk to my unborn child. I spent the 23rd & 24th days of May 1985 in hospital. I was discharged from the Farnborough Hospital on 25th May 1993. I telephoned my manager Mr O'Brian on 27th May 1985 whereby it was agreed that I would resume work on 29th May 1985.

I returned to work on 29th May 1985 as expected. I was immediately placed on a fry station. I asked to be moved but my request was refused. I worked throughout the lunchtime rush hour but by about 1.15pm I felt that I could not put up with the position on the fry station any longer because I was feeling unwell. I explained to Mr Cassey that I felt dizzy. My manager, Mr Chris O'Brian told me that everyone had to work in that fry station at some time. Mr Cassey complained to Mr Chris O'Brian that my work was messy and told me that if I did not come prepared to do the job, I may as well not have worked there. He then shouted at me to go home. I was very upset. I had no food or refreshments since I started my shift at 11.45 that morning. As an employee, I was entitled to 0.32 pence worth of refreshments for each hour that I had worked.

I left my station to get myself a coffee and proceeded to the back room to clock off. As I left my station, my Manager, Mr O'Brian, followed me to the staff room, he asked me if I had recorded the cup of coffee. I admitted that I did not record it. The reason why I did not record the cup of coffee was because I had forgotten due to the upset state I was in. I was extremely distressed at being dismissed. The reason stated for my dismissal was dishonesty on my part. What really occurred on the 29th day of May 1985 was a failure by myself about recording receipt of refreshments to which I was entitled to.

In August 1985, I instructed a firm of Solicitors to act for me in a possible claim for unfair dismissal. The proceedings did not result in a full tribunal hearing because McDonalds settled my claim in the sum of 90.00.

Overtime and Normal Working practices:

Whilst I was employed by McDonalds I regularly worked double shifts so that I could be with my boyfriend. I worked after 10.00 pm on many occasions. I was paid a bonus for working more hours than I should after 10.00 pm. I was only 17 years of age at this time. I knew that I was not supposed to but needed the money. By working a double shift I was able to see my boyfriend as they always arranged to have us in at different times. We never had the same days off.

Every night, the store would have to be cleaned before any member of staff could leave to go home. We would commence cleaning the restaurant after close at 10.00 pm every evening. Before we could leave for the night we would have to clean the floors, walls and equipment. We would then have to put away all the tools and foodstuffs. This duty could take several hours to complete. I did on several occasions work until 2.00 am at that time.

date signed: not dated
status: ?
references: Not applicable/available

exhibits: Not applicable/ available

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