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Staff at a London branch were informed by their manager via notice that they would face disciplinary action if they were to phone in sick and that it was their responsibility to find somebody to cover their shift.
The warning in the North Finchley, London, branch read: “No calling in sick! May I remind you that if you are unable to come in for your shift it is your responsibility to find somebody to cover your shift (as per contract and handbook). Calling in sick during the next 2 weeks will result in disciplinary action being taken.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant has said that the manager in question feared “shortages over the festive period and regrettably decided to take this highly unusual approach”.
The notice has been shared thousands of times on social media with Green MSP Ross Greer notifying the chain via Twitter that he would end his custom and demanded the restaurant treat their “staff with some respect”.
Wagamama replied: “This is not our policy and not how we treat our team members. We will investigate this fully.”
Hospitality union Unite castigated the chain for the notice.
A spokesperson for Unite Hospitality union said: “To threaten workers with disciplinary action for being sick is not just morally reprehensible, it may be unlawful under the Health and Safety Act and Equality Act as it discriminates against those with long-term physical or mental health conditions.”
A Wagamama spokesperson said: “Following reports of a notice posted in our North Finchley restaurant we can confirm this was an isolated incident and is strictly not company employment policy.
“The manager involved feared team member shortages over the festive period and regrettably decided to take this highly unusual approach.
“As a company we treat all our team with the greatest respect and understand and appreciate the hard work they all do. We sincerely apologise for what has happened and wish all our team members and customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Wagamama has more than 100 branches across the UK, including eight in Scotland.