A McDonald's worker in Australia who was left with a broken leg after falling from a ladder she'd used to climb for a quick pre-shift smoke break will receive a payout from the fast food restaurant.
Mandep Sarkaria was working at a Brisbane McDonald's in November 2016 when she arrived 10 minutes early for her shift at the Richlands fast food outlet.
Sarkaria had arrived 10 minutes early due to a policy imposed by the McDonald's and, as she had done many times before, climbed a three-metre tall ladder to access the restaurant's roof to smoke a cigarette.
After her cigarette, Sarkaria started to climb back down the ladder to start her shift but on the way down, she slipped and broke her right leg.
Sarkaria has been unable to work since, the Industrial Court of Queensland heard, leading her to apply for worker's compensation.
The former McDonald's employee claims her injury arose out of or in the course of her employment.
Sarkaria saw her compensation claim rejected by WorkCover and then by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission but after more than two years of appeals, Sarkaria was finally successful.
The former employee appealed to the Industrial Court of Queensland and on January 14, her compensation application was accepted and McDonald's was ordered to pay up.
The court ruled Sarkaria was entitled to the payout because of the restaurant's policy requiring her to arrive at work 10 minutes early.
Industrial Court Justice Glenn Martin ruled "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".
Sarkaria successfully argued she was injured when she was required to be at work.
The former McDonald's worker's case is set to have huge ramifications for employees — especially those that are required to be at their place of work before their shift starts.