A chain of McDonald's outlets operated by Brisbane hospitality identity Tanya Manteit-Mulcahy is facing penalties for breaches of the Fair Work Act after a judge found it had "cruelly" denied workers toilet and drink breaks.

Tantex, which runs six McDonald's restaurants including outlets in the Queen St Mall, Central Station and at Windsor, was found to have breached workers' rights by not providing the required breaks and making false representations about personal leave entitlements.

Ms Manteit-Mulcahy, who spent the early part of her career as a scientist, has operated McDonald's stores since 2013.

Federal Court Justice John Logan said Tantex had falsely represented to employees that they would only be entitled to a 10-minute break if they worked more than four hours and that break would be the only time they would be permitted to have a drink or go to the toilet.

Justice Logan also found Tantex had made false representations about workplace rights by posting a message on a Facebook page that it would not accept employees calling in sick after 10pm on the day prior to their sick leave.

Tanya Manteit-Mulcahy at McDonalds in Queen Street Mall in 2018 (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)
Tanya Manteit-Mulcahy at McDonalds in Queen Street Mall in 2018 (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)

Employees also were told that no shift swaps or sick days were allowed on public holidays.

The case was brought by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union on behalf of employee Chiara Staines who worked as a crew member at the Queen St store between 2017 and 2019. Tantex admitted that it did not provide Ms Staines with adequate breaks.

Judge Logan in his judgement said there was an "element of cruelty" in a threat that entailed denying workers working a four-hour shift to take a drink or go to the toilet.

 

The Facebook post directed to McDonald's workers in Brisbane.
The Facebook post directed to McDonald's workers in Brisbane.

"Heat stroke comes to mind as a possibility in relation to non-consumption of water without a break when on continuous duty in a particularly hot kitchen environment," he said. "(And) that is to say nothing of an employee who can endure "holding on" no longer and soils him or herself as a counter station or in the kitchen area."

Justice Logan will determine whether pecuniary penalties will be imposed against Tantex at a hearing in November after receiving submissions from both parties.

 

Originally published as Judge slams operator's 'cruelty' to Macca's workers