Restaurant slammed for cruel sick leave note amid coronavirus pandemic
A Canadian restaurant has sparked outrage on social media for telling staff they are expected to show up, and not call in sick despite COVID-19 being officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
The note from a Tim Hortons restaurant in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, stated: “For team members who call in sick. I have scheduled you for a reason. Therefore, I expect you to show up. Your absence will be considered unexcused. It is expected that you will show up for your scheduled shifts."
The letter was shared to Reddit, where it was widely denounced for running contrary to advice proffered by WHO, who have told people around the globe to stay home if they can to halt the spread of the virus.
"Yeah, that should be a criminal offence in the midst of a pandemic," one Reddit user commented, while another corroborated "I personally think pandemic or not, you shouldn’t force sick people to work. Especially if they’re preparing food."
In a statement, Tim Hortons confirmed the note was not a hoax, and that it has since been removed from the restaurant in question. "This sign was unfortunately an isolated issue at one restaurant," a spokesperson told The Star.
"We have been in contact with the restaurant owner and they have removed the sign and have reiterated to their employees the policy, which is clear — team members should always stay home if they are sick," they continued.
In a report from the World Health Organization on the 11th March, WHO declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is now being officially recognized as a pandemic:
"WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death."