Saskatoon woman says she was fired for having allergic reaction on the job
Published Friday, June 24, 2016 7:50AM EDT
A Saskatoon woman says she was fired from her retail job earlier this week -- not for being late or slacking off, but for having an allergic reaction on the job.
Danielle Duperreault has several life-threatening allergies, including one to bell peppers. On Monday while at work at a local Urban Planet clothing store, Duperreault ate some of her colleagues’ seasoned nuts, not realizing they contained pepper powder.
Within minutes, her tongue began burning and her skin started itching and she realized she was going into anaphylactic shock.
Duperreault’s usually carries an epinephrine auto-injector in her purse in case of emergencies but had switched purses and didn’t have one that day. She says she told her manager what was happening to her. The manager looked for an auto-injector in the medical cabinet but didn’t find one.
“At that moment, as soon as you find out there's no epi-pen, an ambulance should be called,” Duperreault told CTV Saskatoon.
But her manager didn't call an ambulance and went off to do other things. Meanwhile, Duperreault's reaction was getting worse, with her airway swelling up.
A fellow employee arriving for her shift noticed the severity of the situation and offered to take her to a medical clinic for an epinephrine shot. Duperreault says all that the manager did was to tell her to send her a text when she got to the hospital.
At the clinic, an ambulance was called, and that’s when Duperreault got a message from her manager that she was fired.
“They got me into the ambulance and I received a text message from my boss saying, ‘I gave away your shifts for the rest of the week and unfortunately, I won't be scheduling you any longer. I wish you all the best’,” she said.
Duperreault wrote a Facebook post about the experience on Tuesday. By Friday morning, the post had been shared more than 10,000 times.
Duperreault says she has contacted Urban Planet's head office to tell them about what happened. A spokesperson for the company's head office read out a statement that says it's taking the issue very seriously and is looking into the matter.
Duperreault says she has made a report to Urban Planet’s human resources department and is “getting everything sorted out.”
Meanwhile, she wants other employers to understand that allergies in the workplace are a serious matter. She says all employees should be trained on how to handle allergic reactions and how to administer an auto-injector.
“You need to make sure that they know what to do and they know that, if there's no epi-pen, you call paramedics. You don't see how bad it's going to get because if you wait too long, that person could die.”
With a report from CTV Saskatoon’s Taylor Rattray