Here’s a horror story of the first job of a teenage daughter of my friend (don’t worry, this story has a happy ending).
Last summer Colleen, then 15, worked at a small family-owned deli and bakery and right from the get-go she had a heck of a time getting what she was due, and zero luck getting protected or treated with respect. Just a few of her problems at this job:
- She was told to use the meat-slicer and bread-slicer machines without any training.
- She was made to close up shop, by herself, at night.
- At most, she got 15 minutes’ break (total) in a 8-hour shift and would regularly come home starving without having had a chance to eat that whole time.
- She was scheduled to work full-time when she only wanted part-time and told them so repeatedly.
- She wasn’t being paid minimum wage.
- She called in sick (with rasping throat) and was fired on the spot, then told the following week that they never fired her, and why wasn’t she coming in to work?
To Colleen’s credit, she refused to use the meat-slicing machine and she asked them to pay her minimum wage. As for the rest, she and her parents didn’t know any better, at first – but they soon knew enough for her to leave that place after a couple of months.
And now? Colleen loves her new job, as a cashier at Zeller’s (one of the HBC family of retailers). She came home, excited, to tell her mom that she is getting two weeks’ training – paid! – that includes WHMIS. Her boss goes over the safety rules at a meeting held at the end of every shift. They schedule her shifts around her extracirricular activities. They pay her more than minimum wage.
This enthusiast, hardworking teenage girl has found a safety champion employer!
Colleen’s parents are hugely relieved. And they learned valuable lessons from that horrible job at the deli/bakery – that thankfully didn’t cost them their daughter’s life…. or her fingers… or her health. But it could have.
And that’s a shiver up the spines of this family they aren’t going to forget any time soon.