A Perth franchise of global fast food giant McDonald’s has been accused of forcing an immigrant worker to have an abortion before eventually sacking her because she refused to abort a second pregnancy.
Rechilda Moll-Sequitin, a Filipina who was brought to WA on a 457 visa to work at the chain’s Mindarie restaurant, is suing one of WA’s biggest McDonald’s franchisees for racial and sexual discrimination.
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She has asked the Federal Magistrate’s Court to award her $140,000 in compensation.
In court documents obtained by The West Australian, Ms Moll-Sequitin claims she arrived in Australia in June 2008 and was appointed assistant manager by franchisee Neil Platts, whose company also held the Currambine and Joondalup store franchises.
Three months later, she became pregnant to her Australian fiance Guiller Sequitin. She claims Mr Platts told her she would lose her job if she did not have an abortion, so she terminated the pregnancy in September 2008.
Ms Moll-Sequitin claims she told Mr Platts in February last year she had again become pregnant. On March 16, she was called to a meeting in Mr Platt’s office.
“He told me that he would have to be blunt and tell me that if I go on with the pregnancy, he’d give me a letter of redundancy and I’d go back to the Philippines right away, pregnant, jobless and without Guil,” Ms Moll-Sequitin said in her complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, a copy of which has been lodged with the Federal Magistrate’s Court.
Ms Moll-Sequitin, who turns 31 tomorrow, claims she refused to have another abortion and was made redundant three days later. She married Mr Sequitin and gave birth to Abigail Isabella late last year.
Mr Platt’s company Kandoo Investments has lodged documents with the court in which it denies the threats ever took place. Yesterday, Ms Moll-Sequitin’s lawyer, Simon Millman from Slater & Gordon , told Federal Magistrate Toni Lucev his client had recorded the second series of threats.
Kandoo Investments’ lawyer Ian Curlewis told the court the allegations against Mr Platts were horrific. He said the tape recording should not be entered into evidence because it had been recorded without the knowledge of the other party. He also said he wanted access to Ms Moll-Sequitin’s medical records to determine whether she gave doctors any other reason for having the abortion in 2008.
The company also claims in court documents that Ms Moll-Sequitin was made redundant because it had sold the Mindarie franchise and the sale “did not involve a transfer of the two employees . . . on section 457 visas”. She had been paid more than $4200 after her redundancy, it said.
Outside court, Ms Moll-Sequitin said: “I’m actually looking forward to my day in court where I can tell my story. But I was hurt with what happened and I’m happy that it’s been listed (for trial) in September.”
Mr Platts said he would continue to fight the allegations and denied having threatened Ms Moll-Sequitin about either of her pregnancies or her ethnic origin.
McDonald’s did not return calls from _The West Australian _. Mr Lucev said in court the case been mediated, but the parties had not been able to settle. He will hear arguments about the admissibility of the tape and access to the hospital records on Thursday. In 2008, Kandoo Investments was fined $13,700 for employing 12 children under the age of 15 outside legal hours and employing 19 children without the written consent of their parents.
Source: Yahoo! News