The Value of a Canadian Working Mom? 16 cents
It's no wonder half of Canada is talking about this story. I mean there's nothing like valuing the contributions of an employee -- a single mother of four working at a London, Ontario, Tim Hortons -- at a paltry 16 cents. The employee in question was fired for giving a 16 cent Timbit to a regular customer with a fussy child. She has since been rehired at another location operated by the same franchisee.
This kind of mean-spiritedness reminds of a situation I observed while on tour for one of my books about 18 months ago. A very pregnant and visibly exhausted cashier was working in one of the bookstores I visited. The woman looked so exhausted, in fact, that I felt that I had to do something to try to ease her discomfort. I offered to go and find a stool or something else for her to sit down on so that she could take a quick break in between serving customers.
She thanked me for offering to do something to help, but told me that sitting down on a stool or a chair while you were working cash was against company policy. Pregnant or not, she was expected to remain on her feet throughout her shift, except when she was on break.
I still haven't figured out why an employer would have such a policy in place today, when leading health authorities advise pregnant women to avoid prolonged standing on the job, due to the increased risk of preterm labor.
These companies must lose sight of the fact that employees have family, friends, and neighbors who, like them, have the choice of where they do business. And no one likes to buy from a company that's seen as being mean to their workers, let alone pregnant women or single moms. And if executives aren't afraid of repercussions from their shareholders, they should fear the wrath of the mom and dad consumer and their increasingly activist kid consumers, who will hold you accountable for the way you treat your employees. You can count on that.
Happy Mother's Day, all!