Panera Bread is trying to kill you
The Girl is the restaurant's longest running employee, so that should tell you something about how they manage the restaurant, especially in this economy. She's been there long enough to be recommended for management! How weird is that? In all the time she's worked there, she's been written up for being late once (serious traffic jam closed the road and we were stuck in it forever) and the manager that she has the most trouble with wrote her up for an accounting error that was the manager's fault. Once you're written up, it can't be taken back, according to the rotten manager.
She's a hard worker, she doesn't complain or have friends visit her at work, and the fact that she's made it 6 months there is a testimony to her dedication. She loves having the money. She really does. And she's willing to do just about anything to continue making the money, too.
While I was in the hospital she stayed with friends who were all brewing an illness. The baby ended up in the hospital with pneuonia and bronchitis, then her friend's mom got sick, and then her friend caught it. Last night the Girl came home from work at 11:30 dragging. She had a vicious headache, a fever, was coughing, and just starting to get sniffly. She went to bed and while asleep got a full-on case of something horrid. She woke up sick as a dog, runny nose, coughing non-stop, headache, muscle ache, and a 102 degree fever.
I pronounced her sick and had her call Panera at 9 am to say she wouldn't be in at 3 pm. She talked to the bitchy boss, Kim, who told her that she HAD to come in or find someone to cover her entire shift. She gave the Girl a bunch of phone numbers, mentioned that she was sick too, and told her to call and find a replacement. The Girl phoned several people and found someone that would work from 5-11, but couldn't come in at 3. She called work and was told that this was not acceptable and she would have to work her entire shift. With food. And a communicable illness.
I then called the manager and spoke to a guy who said that the rules were that the Girl had to find a replacement for her entire shift or come to work. I mentioned that she was really sick, with a communicable disease and that he was ordering her to come and work with food with an airborn illness. Which is AGAINST THE LAW. He didn't care, that was the deal, and if she didn't come in, they would fire her. WHICH IS ALSO AGAINST THE LAW. So I told him I was going to report him to the Labor Board on Monday, and he didn't seem to care.
The Girl found someone to work the other two hours, but I am seething. If they did this to her, they are doing it to all their other employees. They are making sick people work and handle your food. Forcing them or threatening their jobs. In this economy, people are going to choose to work sick. And that is a public health threat. For anyone that has a weakened immune system, eating at a Panera could be a death sentence. Customers aren't warned that this is the company's policy, but they should be. I eat their food, and now I'm totally grossed out by the fact that they allow their workers to handle the food when sick. I have a weakened immune system. A cold like that of the Girl's could put me right back in the hospital. Parents bring their kids in there all the time, not knowing that they are exposing them to diseases. Panera is especially popular with the blue-haired set here in our city, and they are more immunicologically fragile than the general population.
I am absolutely dumb-founded that a restaurant that prides itself on 'healthy' foods would behave so recklessly. You can bet I'm going to complain on Monday, not only to the Labor Board for unfair labor practices, but to our local health department as well. In the meantime I am warning you to avoid eating at Panera Bread until their policies change. I wouldn't want to be the reason anyone gets sick, and I don't want my daughter to be either.
Avoid Panera like the plague. Because they're spreading one right there on Needham Street. Stumble It! JBlog Me