A restaurant worker has launched legal action against McDonald’s after being threatened at gun point by an armed robber during a night shift.
Student Tipi Rixom, 26, was beginning work at the fast food outlet’s Edge Lane store when a masked raider entered the store. The robber casually strolled past customers at the eatery and marched into the back office where he held Tipi and her manager at gun point.
The petrified workers were ordered to empty cash from the store’s safe before being told to stand in a corner of the room while the crook fled with £3,000.
Tipi said, “It was the most terrifying moment of my life, I really believed this man was going to kill me but I was frozen to the spot in fear. When he burst into the office I could only see his eyes but as he brandished the gun I knew he was serious. I have never been in a situation like that before and I was just so scared. We handed over the money and he made me stand in the corner before he left and I was just stood still shaking. I didn’t realise just how huge an impact it would have on my life.”
Tipi moved to Liverpool from Malaga, Spain in 2010 to begin her dream of living abroad while studying for a law degree at John Moores University. To finance her way through her studies the hardworking student also began a part-time job at McDonald’s restaurant on Edge Lane as part of the customer service team.
On Saturday, November 23rd 2012, Tipi went into work at 8pm to begin her evening shift at the store as normal and went into the manager for a chat. Unbeknown to her, an armed raider had entered the store at 8.15pm and brazenly walked straight into the back office threatening terrified Tipi and her boss with a handgun.
They were ordered to hand over any cash that was in the store before being told to stand in the corner of the room while the crook fled. Tipi says staff at the store had voiced concerns about security after a number of armed robberies had taken place over the years but their calls were largely ignored.
She said, “There had been at least three robberies at the store while I was working there and we did make it clear to management that we thought it was a real risk. We had hoped they would bring in a security team during high risk times but they didn’t do anything and I believe that put staff at risk.
“This man had a gun and was just able to breeze into the office and threaten us out of view of everyone. I really thought I was going to die. Do McDonald’s not value the lives of their staff? I never thought I could be unsafe going to work for a company the size of McDonald’s. They are a huge global brand so you would assume they could afford adequate safety for staff.”
Following her ordeal Tipi suffered panic attacks, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder leaving her unable to even step foot into the store. Because she wasn’t able to work Tipi says she began to accumulate debt and her grades declined as she struggled to study while coming to terms to the horrific incident.
She also said, “I just couldn’t go back into the store, I was so scared and this crippling fear would wash over me even as I thought about it. McDonald’s arranged for staff counselling but they held it in the store. I tried to attend but I froze when I got to the car park, I was too scared to even get out of my car.”
Tipi instructed law firm Slater and Gordon to pursue a civil action against McDonald’s. The fast food giant initially denied responsibility but has now accepted liability for Tipi’s ordeal.
She added, “I felt that I needed to make this case public so that large firms such as McDonald’s understand they have a right to protect the people who work in their stores. I’m glad they have accepted liability however I’ve decided to move away from Liverpool now as I just don’t feel safe anymore. It’s such a wonderful place full of amazing people but I feel I need a fresh start.”
Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyer Sara Heppenstall who is representing Tipi said, “Tipi has suffered a great deal of psychological trauma which could have been avoided if security had of an adequate standard. Store robberies are an ongoing area of concern for many retailers, and as such they need to take a strict approach to risk assessments. Staff members have the right to work in a safe and secure environment so appropriate security measures should be put in place to try and protect employees.”
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in accidents through no fault of their own. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help.
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