Poisoned Wendy's manager harangued for calling 911

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There's following what you believe is corporate policy and then there's just nuts.

According to 10connects.com in Tampa Bay, Fla., a manager at a Jacksonville Wendy's is complaining that she was called on the carpet last week for calling 911 after drinking something at work that may have been laced with oven cleaner.

Sara Barahona said it was hot at the store, the AC was out and she gulped her drink. It tasted funny and when she lifted the lid, it didn't look right, either. She had no clue what was in there so she called for medical help. Sounds reasonable.
Now comes the weird, news-making part. A few days later she's summoned by the district manager. She says he faults her, in front of others, for getting help because emergency vehicles outside the restaurant is bad for business. Poisoned managers aren't real high on the PR scale either, but let's move on.

Alan Pruitt, president of Wendy's of Michigan and Florida, has confirmed there was a meeting. He told the Web site that the district manager did not fault Barahona for calling 911; instead, get this, managers were reminded to also call the district office in the event of an emergency.

Let this sit for a minute. You think you've been poisoned. You don't know what you just drank, so you call for help. You're also supposed to call your boss? Does the manual also include instructions for passing out in a proper, corporate manner?

Ever worked in an office? This would be funny if it didn't ring so true. Think Dwight Schrute isn't based on real people? You haven't worked corporate.

Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini made the company's position clear, and clearly more humane, in an e-mail this afternoon.

"We train our employees to call 911 in the event of emergencies," he said. "This is something that's encouraged. We are taking Ms. Barahona's allegations seriously. To our knowledge, no charges have been filed by police in this matter, pending their investigation."

Barahona said there had been a dispute earlier with a worker. The Jacksonville Sheriff's office determined that there was something in the drink. They said this morning that it was still an open investigation and that no arrests had been made.

I called the store. The manager, who cheerily said "This is Ed" when he picked up, didn't say much more. I told him what I was calling about and he said "No comment." I asked if there was someone who could comment, like the district manager. He said "No comment." I asked if there was an e-mail address I could send a question to. Go ahead. Guess.

Next step. Lawyers. Barahona doesn't like the way it was handled and has hired an attorney. Wouldn't be any fun without lawyers involved, would it?

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