Updated: Friday, 19th July 2019 @ 2:43pm

Hazel Grove KFC accused of standing by as worker with Down's Syndrome 'bullied'

Hazel Grove KFC accused of standing by as worker with Down's Syndrome 'bullied'

| By Ciara Hanstock & Kim Reader

KFC staff in Hazel Grove have been accused of discrimination against a young co-worker with Down’s Syndrome.

A customer’s Facebook post outlined the incident in which staff are said to have failed to help their colleague while she was being ‘bullied’ by a group of youths at the eatery's London Road branch.

Stockport mum Michelle Lamb said some of the KFC workers were even finding the ‘unacceptable’ situation ‘amusing’.

She said: “Well KFC I have to say I am totally disgusted, I have just been into your Hazel Grove branch to witness a young staff member with a disability who was visibly upset over the behaviour of a group of young people towards her.

“She was talking with another staff member who told her there was nothing she could do about it all she could do was tell ‘Mark’, and made her go back out on the floor to empty the bin.

“Then a group of young boys was trying to push past her as she was emptying the bin and she asked them to go the other way which they did but were laughing and smirking as they went.”

Mrs Lamb tried to intervene and get someone to help out, but claims she was met with the same unwillingness to act.

“I asked the staff member a young man who was serving me why was nothing been done as they were obviously taking the piss out of this young lady to which his response was ‘well they’re not actually doing anything they’re only kids’ while in the background the other staff members were finding the whole situation amusing watching the said young lady,” she said.

“Well I’m sorry KFC I think this is nothing more than bullying, schools have a zero tolerance to bullying so these ‘kids’ are very aware of what they were doing and your staff should have a zero tolerance to this behaviour.

“I think the most senior member of staff should have spoken to the group of young people asking them to stop and if they did not they should have been asked to leave. I think your staff need more discrimination training.”

It seems Mrs Lamb did more to prevent the ‘bullying’ of this young girl with Down Syndrome than anybody working at the fast-food restaurant.

She said: “I called the young boys very rude and watched them leave. They didn’t look happy that I had said it to them.

“That is when I spoke to the staff member and all the staff heard me. I also spoke to the young lady on the way out and told her I was going to report it to KFC, which she thanked me for.”

The Facebook post has now been shared more than 68,000 times as Mrs Lamb urged people to spread the word.

She said: “Please share this as it is totally unacceptable. Please keep sharing as KFC are blocking this post on their page. Seems they don’t like negative feedback. Let’s see if they can ignore it if it goes viral.”

As well as being re-posted thousands of times, the issue has outraged a lot of people, who have spoken out in support of the young disabled worker and seconded calls for KFC to make some changes.

Karen Venturini commented: “My son works for KFC as well. He also has a learning disability so I would be very upset if this was to happen to him.

“I would expect his work members to stick up for him or report to manager at least these young people are out there working!”

And Maureen Reilly added: “Absolutely disgusting the staff need proper training and maybe educating in respect and courtesy.”

While Angela Mulready said: “Shame on KFC you should stand up against bullying as clearly that is what this is. Shame on the rest of the staff too.”

As the claim attracted more and more attention on social media it was spotted by a support worker for the female KFC employee, who contacted Mrs Lamb to confirm she had been in touch with the food chain’s press office.

A press office spokesman told MM: “We’re currently investigating what’s happened.

“We’ve been working with the employee and her family to make sure that she is getting all the support that she needs.”

A statement made on KFC’s Facebook page reads: “KFC is an equal rights employer and we take incidents like the one highlighted by a customer on Saturday very seriously.

“The employee in question is an incredibly valued team member who contributes a huge amount to the restaurant.

“Any offensive behaviour towards our staff is completely unacceptable.”

It further mentions: “[The staff member] has assured us that they're happy with the steps KFC has taken, that they enjoy working for KFC and want to continue to be part of the team, and will be coming in as planned for their next shift.”

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.