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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Hello, I am your waiter and I should be home – if I had sick leave

I did get up a bit too early this morning, but just in time to see Elizabeth Cohen at CNN report – “US: Restaurant workers show up sick:”

sicky-waiter.jpgOne out of eight restaurant workers has come to work at least twice in the past year while suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, according to a new survey of workers in nine states.

That’s 12% of all workers, an increase over the 5% of workers found in previous studies, according to study author Dr. Steven Sumner, the study’s lead author and a resident in internal medicine at Duke University Hospital. The study is published in The Journal of Food Preparation.

One reason workers work while vomiting or experiencing diarrhea is many restaurants don’t have paid sick leave, so if a worker stays home, he or she doesn’t get paid.

The National Restaurant Association has fought required paid sick leave. In a statement to CNN, the association said, “There is no greater priority for the restaurant industry than food safety.”

It didn’t matter much whether the restaurant was fast food or sit-down, whether the workers spoke English, whether a chain or independent, or whether the food was American or ethnic.

Busier restaurants – those that served more than 300 meals on a busy day – were more likely to have workers that worked sick.

“It may be if you’re working in a busy place your manager is less likely to send you home, or you may feel bad to leave your coworker stranded on a busy shift,” Sumner said.

Bon Appetit!

  • Dog Doctor

    Unfortunately the lack of sick is a problem in the food service industry and food production as well. In several outbreaks linked to produce from outside the United States workers only get money if they work so they will pick produce that you eat raw while they are sick. They will also bring their sick children to work because there is no day care in those countries.
    I have to add with the proposed budget cuts of the Republicans to WIC and public health block grants expect this to become more of a problem in this country as well. I see too many parrells between the conditions in developing countries and the way the current budget debate in this country is going where we are attacking worker’s rights and giving tax breaks and support to the wealthiest among us.
    The reason the budget related to food safety is that if there is no money for health departments there will be no one to inspect the resturants or anyone to care for the ill or investigate when people do get sick.
    Let’s hope that common sense comes back and we look at ways to make every one healthier and safer
    We provide assistance to small businesses to provide health benefits including sick leave and we balance the budget on intellegence cuts and revenue enhancements like returning to the tax rates under Bill Clinton and or Reagan.

  • Nate

    Here Here, Dog Doctor…you’ll be my write-in for 2012