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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Barrow woman hits out at Cumbria McDonald’s ban

A BARROW woman has been banned from eating in fast food giant McDonald’s Cumbrian outlets.

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BANNED: Fiona Dennison outside McDonald’s on Hollywood Park, where she used to work CHRIS WARNER REF: 50036161B002

Fiona Dennison, of Craven Park Court, is a former employee of the Hollywood Park franchise and last week (July 10) was informed in writing she is no longer welcome in any store owned by HBN Restaurants Ltd.

The company – run by fast food magnates Chris and Sue Nicholls – operates McDonald’s stores in Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven, Penrith, Kendal and Barrow.

The directive comes after the 37-year-old resigned in May after three years as a customer care assistant, alleging she had suffered bullying at the hands of staff.

“I don’t want this happening to anybody else,” Mrs Dennison told the Evening Mail.

“I was bullied there and it was just swept under the carpet and I don’t want it happening to anybody else.”

Mrs Dennison said in all her time with the franchise she had never received so much as a verbal warning until suddenly, in May, she fell foul of a new management team.

She claims bullying began with an apparent complaint from a customer that she was heard burping while on duty.

She said tensions between her and management increased as a Facebook chat conversation she had with a former employee was leaked and concerns were raised over the content in a personal diary she kept.

Mrs Dennison also alleged she was told by a colleague that she would have to run around the store naked if that is what he wanted her to do.

Faced with what she thought was an untenable situation, Mrs Dennison resigned on May 19 and said at that time she held no ill will towards the management or the outlet, where her daughter Megan Greaves, 18, still works.

“I was not a disgruntled ex-employee at that point, despite how I felt I had been treated,” she said.

“But then a customer contacted me early in June to say she had overheard (someone) telling another worker that I had resigned because I had serious mental problems. Now, I was diagnosed with bi-polar two years ago, but that had nothing to do with my concerns at being bullied by certain members of staff.”

However, following a visit there as a customer on July 9, the very next day she received a letter from Mrs Nicholls accusing her of abusive behaviour and warning her not to enter any McDonald’s owned by HBN Restaurants.

Mrs Dennison denies the claim she was abusive and said she was in the process of engaging lawyers to see what options she had available to her.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “At this time no formal grievance was raised, however, as both our franchisee and McDonald’s take any accusations of bullying very seriously, our franchisee has looked into the claims but has found no evidence to support this.

“Our franchisee would welcome the opportunity to investigate the matter fully if Ms Dennison would like to open a formal grievance and should make contact directly with our franchisee to discuss this.”

Have your say

I would like to say a big thank you to all the comments that have been written on this page! You all have been great and have given me the confidence to take this matter futher! I would just like to say to rachel it wasnt comments made to me but many was behind my back regarding issue's that management where discussing in front of customers and other crew members regarding my state of mind! The words were I have a serious mental problem thats why i re-signed! I didnt i resigned for being told that what he says went and if he said run around naked I should! I can't say to much about my past history but that comment made me have a relapse in my recovery and I had no option but to quit! Bi-polar is not to be taken lightly I hate feeling the way I do and I wish I could just snap out of it but its not as simple as that! and when you do get bullied in work its hard to deal with and I go in extremely low moods! more people r becoming aware of mental health! I dont know if normal is the right word to use but I wish I could do something about it but if you can give me some advice I would gladly try anything to make me feel happy again

Posted by fiona dennison on 19 July 2012 at 22:13

I agree with Julie, Fiona was an excellent member of staff, friendly and welcoming to all customers. It's not the same without her there!

Posted by anon on 19 July 2012 at 21:52

View all 16 comments on this article

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