Sacked 'over epilepsy'

Samantha Bawden says she has been sacked from her job at the White China restaurant because she has epilepsy.
Samantha Bawden says she has been sacked from her job at the White China restaurant because she has epilepsy. Max Fleet

A TEENAGE waitress who suffers from epilepsy claims the operators of a popular Bundaberg restaurant sacked her after a few shifts because of her condition.

Samantha Bawden, 19, also claims she was paid only $20 for the three shifts she worked at White China, at the Brothers Sports Club.

But one of the co-owners of the restaurant said Ms Bawden had never been employed there, and had only completed a couple of hours of a trial shift.

Ms Bawden said when she had her initial interview for the waiting job at the restaurant, she mentioned that she had epilepsy but said it was under control.

The teenager, who had worked as a waitress in Mackay before moving back to Bundaberg, said she worked her first shift on May 14 from 11am-1.30pm as a trial.

She said she was then called back in for another shift on May 15, and again on May 17.

During her last shift, someone she identified as "Marie", one of the owners of White China, pulled her aside to have a talk with her about her epilepsy.

"I told her that if I get too stressed out I can have fits, but if I call my Mum it calms me down, so I won't have a fit," she said.

Ms Bawden said she was ordered to go home.

"She said, 'I don't want you falling on my ground'," she said.

"I thought I did the right thing by telling her and I end up getting fired for it."

Ms Bawden said she was despondent at losing a job because of her epilepsy.

"All my life I've been told I can't do things because I have epilepsy and now this is something else I'm told I can't do," she said.

"I was looking forward to working and supporting myself because I can't live off Mum and Dad for my whole life.

"There aren't many jobs in Bundaberg."

One of the co-owners of White China, who would only identify himself as Peter, told the NewsMail Ms Bawden had never been employed there.

He said she had only worked one shift of two or three hours and then had told a fellow staff member she was unwell and had to leave.

Peter said he was too busy to answer any more questions and hung up.

Topics:  epilepsy, sacked, unfair dismissal



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