How a ruling over a McDonald’s staffer who broke her leg after arriving 10 minutes early to work could affect ALL Australian workers
- McDonald’s employee Mandep Sarkaria has won the right to compensation
- Ms Sarkaria broke her leg during a 10-minute break at McDonald’s in Richland
- The court ruled she was injured during the time she was required to be at work
- Her lawyer said it set precedent for employees in future compensation claims
A McDonald’s worker who broke her leg 10 minutes before her shift and later scored a compensation win could set a benchmark for other businesses.
Mandep Sarkaria was working at the fast food chain in the Brisbane suburb of Richlands when she suffered the life-changing injury, the ABC reported.
After arriving early for her shift, she climbed a three-metre ladder to access the roof to smoke a cigarette.
‘As she was coming down the ladder, she fell and had a quite serious break in her right leg,’ lawyer Candice Heisler said of the 2016 accident.
A McDonald’s worker who broke her leg 10 minutes before her shift and later scored a compensation win could set a benchmark for other businesses (pictured, McDonald’s Richlands in Brisbane)
Mandep Sarkaria was on a 10-minute break at the fast food chain when she suffered the life-changing injury (stock picture)
According to the lawyer, the single mother hasn’t returned to work since and still struggles to walk.
The Industrial Court of Queensland ruled Mandep Sarkaria was entitled to a payout because her employer’s policy required her to arrive for work 10 minutes before her shift.
‘She was effectively given a forced 10-minute break before her shift starts,’ Ms Heisler said.
The lawyer went on to praise the court’s decision and said it had set a precedent for other employees who are required to turn up to work earlier than their shift start-time.
Under Australian law, an employee’s injury or disease must stem from their employment in order to make them eligible for compensation.
As the case highlights, that can include workers who are required to be on the premises outside of shift hours.
Justice Glenn Martin agreed in court that Ms Sarkaria was under the responsibility of the employer during that time.
‘Although none of the employees at the restaurant would serve a customer, or cook food, or lift a mop from the time they arrived until their shift commenced they had, in my view, commenced work,’ he said.
Despite the outcome, the case proved to be anything but an easy win.
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission dismissed Ms Sarakaria’s initial appeal after WorkCover rejected her first compensation claim.
The Industrial Court of Queensland ruled Mandep Sarkaria was entitled to a payout because her employer’s policy required her to arrive for work 10 minutes before her shift (stock picture)
Her claim was dismissed because Ms Sarkaria had not established she had been ‘temporarily absent from her place of employment’ or that she was on an ordinary recess at the time of her injury, according to court documents.
Ms Sarkaria’s latest claim for compensation was accepted by the Industrial Court of Queensland.
On the matter of why she was climbing the roof, Ms Heisler said it was common practice for staff to travel up the ladder for a smoke break.
In that case, it fell on the onus of the employer to inform staff whether or not this behaviour was allowed.
The compensation amount is yet to be determined.