The woman climbed onto the roof, ignoring a warning sign, to have a cigarette. Picture: iStock
The woman climbed onto the roof, ignoring a warning sign, to have a cigarette. Picture: iStock

Woman wins compo after Maccas roof fall

A McDONALD'S worker who fell, breaking her leg, after climbing on to the restaurant's rooftop for a smoke before her shift began, has won the right to worker's compensation.

A judge found because Mandep Sarkaria was required to arrive for work 10 minutes before her shift began, she was entitled to compensation for an injury during that period.

The injury was found to have occurred during "an ordinary recess'' from Ms Sarkaria's work at McDonald's at Richlands.

This was despite the rooftop not being a designated smoking area and a sign on a ladder warning against going onto the rooftop.

After Ms Sarkaria arrived at 8.50pm for a 9pm shift on November 1, 2016, she went to the storeroom and used a three metre ladder to get on to the roof to smoke a cigarette.

As she was going down the ladder she fell, breaking her lower right leg, the Industrial Court of Queensland heard.

Ms Sarkaria, who has not worked since, applied for worker's compensation, claiming her injury, during the 10 minutes before she started her shift, arose out of or in the course of her employment.

WorkCover rejected her compensation claim and Queensland Industrial Relations Commission vice president Dianne Linnane later dismissed her appeal.

But Ms Sarkaria successfully appealed to the Industrial Court of Queensland, which on Monday ordered that her compensation application be accepted.

Ms Sarkaria had to show that the injury occurred while she was required to be at work, but was "temporarily absent from the place of employment" and during "an ordinary recess".

Ms Linnane found that as Ms Sarkaria sometimes had to clean the rooftop, it and the ladder were her "place of employment" and therefore she was not absent from it when injured.

But Industrial Court Justice Glenn Martin disagreed and said Ms Linnane also erred in finding that Ms Sarkaria had not commenced work and was not on an ordinary recess when injured.

Justice Martin said employees were required to attend work at a set time before their shift started and there was a "recess" between that and commencement of the work period.

"Although none of the employees … would serve a customer or cook food or lift a mop from the time they arrived until their shift commenced, they had, in my view, commenced work," Justice Martin said.

In Ms Sarkaria's case, "the period of time during which an employee was required to attend at the place of employment before a shift commenced should properly be regarded as an "ordinary recess".

Candice Heisler of Quinn & Scattini said it was an important decision, showing workers were entitled to bring a claim for an injury before or after work, if they were required to be at work at a specific time.



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