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A barmaid has claimed she was sacked from a pub after she was told showing Covid symptoms wasn’t an ‘acceptable’ reason to be off work. 

Rachael Baylis, 22, had been working at The Walrus, Brighton, for three months when she developed a cough and a fever on December 14.

She took a lateral flow test on Wednesday that was negative, but to be on the safe side and to protect other members of staff she arranged a PCR and decided to isolate until she’d received the results.

In emails she claims are from her boss, he told her to work as normal until a PCR test confirmed she had the disease – because showing symptoms wasn’t an ‘acceptable’ reason to not turn up her for shift.

Ms Baylis offered her notice of resignation, however the messages appear to show her manager refuse to accept and instead sack her for ‘showing a clear lack of respect’ towards management.

The results of her PCR test have since come back and Ms Baylis claims they have confirmed she does have covid. 

Rachael Baylis (pictured), 22, had been working at The Walrus, Brighton, for three months when she developed a cough and a fever on December 14

Rachael Baylis (pictured), 22, had been working at The Walrus, Brighton, for three months when she developed a cough and a fever on December 14

Rachael Baylis (pictured), 22, had been working at The Walrus, Brighton, for three months when she developed a cough and a fever on December 14

She took a lateral flow test on Wednesday that was negative, but to be on the safe side and to protect other members of staff she arranged a PCR and decided to isolate until she’d received the results. Pictured: The Walrus, Brighton

She took a lateral flow test on Wednesday that was negative, but to be on the safe side and to protect other members of staff she arranged a PCR and decided to isolate until she’d received the results. Pictured: The Walrus, Brighton

She took a lateral flow test on Wednesday that was negative, but to be on the safe side and to protect other members of staff she arranged a PCR and decided to isolate until she’d received the results. Pictured: The Walrus, Brighton

Government guidance on nhs.co.uk instructs anyone with a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of smell or taste to ‘self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test’. 

The City Pub Group said they were ‘aware of allegations that the company’s well-established Covid-19 safety protocols were not followed’ and confirmed they are urgently investigating the incident.

Ms Baylis, from Worcester, said: ‘I wasn’t upset or sad, I was just angry. How can they get away with this? How can they force sick staff to come in?

‘It’s a public health concern. They don’t respect sickness and health. I couldn’t get out of bed and they wanted me to go into work.

‘I’ve had a fever and a cough so I did a lateral flow and they were negative but they are so unreliable. I wasn’t shocked that the lateral flow was negative because they can be inaccurate.

‘I told him I was going to do a PCR and he said I couldn’t not go in. I wasn’t surprised at all. 

‘He couldn’t accept I wasn’t doing what he told me to do. It just didn’t make logical sense. I wasn’t going to risk other members of staff and customers.’

However emails that she says are from her boss show him demand she work as normal that evening until a PCR test confirmed she had the disease as showing symptoms wasn’t an ‘acceptable’ reason to not turn up her for shift. Pictured: Rachael Baylis

However emails that she says are from her boss show him demand she work as normal that evening until a PCR test confirmed she had the disease as showing symptoms wasn’t an ‘acceptable’ reason to not turn up her for shift. Pictured: Rachael Baylis

However emails that she says are from her boss show him demand she work as normal that evening until a PCR test confirmed she had the disease as showing symptoms wasn’t an ‘acceptable’ reason to not turn up her for shift. Pictured: Rachael Baylis

The manager’s messages state the reasons for firing Rachael were that she showed lack of respect for management, had threatened to walk out of her shift the day before and sat outside before her shift had finished.

Ms Baylis says she began showing symptoms of Covid while at work on Tuesday and says she went outside to get some fresh air.

Emails between the pair show Ms Baylis explaining that she wouldn’t be coming in to work to avoid infecting other members of staff and, after that was disputed, offering her resignation before she was dismissed.

Ms Baylis wrote: ‘Lateral flows are notoriously unreliable with only a 60% accuracy rate and I’m displaying 2/3 symptoms of Covid.

‘Another staff member has also tested positive for Covid therefore it’s even likelier I could have it.

‘I am not personally comfortable coming in whilst unwell and with potential to spread to both customers and staff which would make staffing very difficult should all of us get it.

‘I will have my PCR tests back tomorrow and I will try to find someone to cover my shift but I will not be coming in for the benefit of not spreading anything to the remaining team.

‘If you still wish to understand my reasons then consider this my notice.’

Her manager responded: ‘I do not accept your resignation due to the below issues I was going to discuss with you in person today at the start of your shift before terminating your probation period.

‘You have shown a clear lack of respect for management requests/procedures over the last week which reached tipping point last night.

‘You threatened to walk out numerous times last night. Changed clothes and sat outside before you were told by the shift manager you could finish.’

Ms Baylis said: ‘On Tuesday I told management I felt ill and I sat outside for some air with my jumper on and they were annoyed that I was apparently getting changed.

‘That’s when I threatened to walk out. As soon as I got there, someone said I looked like s***. I was coughing as well.’

Ms Baylis started working at The Walrus part-time in September before going full-time in November. She is set to start a new job in recruitment on Monday. 

The City Pub Group’s website says that they are complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. 

A spokesperson for The City Pub Group said: ‘The City Pub Group is aware of allegations that the company’s well-established Covid-19 safety protocols were not followed at our Brighton pub The Walrus, in relation to isolation arrangements for one of our team members.

‘As a company we place paramount importance on the health and welfare of our colleagues and customers, particularly during the ongoing pandemic challenges. This takes precedence over any other considerations.

‘We are now urgently investigating all aspects of this situation to understand precisely what has happened and what needs to be done in response.

‘We do not wish to make any further comments on next steps until the facts of the case have been established clearly.’

Source: Daily Mail

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