Fieldays: Young barista allegedly forced to work 11 hours with no toilet break

A young barista says she was forced to make coffees for 11 hours with only one 20 minute break while working at Nomad Coffee's pop up stand at Fieldays. 

Hay Morris shared her daughter's experience as an employee for Nomad Coffee on Facebook, and the post has since gone viral, with more than 500 social media users reacting to the company's "unprofessional" behaviour. 

Hay Morris wrote a lengthy post with all of the details, starting with when her daughter got up at dawn to travel to her 6:30am shift at Fieldays.

"Not long into the morning it became apparent that the machine was a dud, so eventually another machine was sourced and it was replaced," Morris said.

Her daughter soon discovered the man she was working with had only learned to make coffee the day before, but "did really well", considering the circumstances. 

"At one point, Maddy messaged [her employer] to request someone come and relieve the two of them for a toilet break," Morris continued.

As shown in accompanying screenshots to Morris's Facebook post, her daughter was told the baristas were not allowed to take breaks between 10-2, and to just "go when you can". But according to Morris, there was no time. 

Maddy Morris was denied her right to a break.
Maddy Morris was denied her right to a break. Photo credit: Hay Morris / Facebook

"Eventually one of the bosses turned up to give them a 20 minute break. Maddy mentioned her concerns about the lack of breaks and toilet time and the lady was frankly very rude, saying it was just how it is," Morris wrote. 

Morris said her daughter made 400 coffees, and finished up at 5pm after only taking one 20 minute break all day. She also worked almost two hours more than she was contracted to.

"After an hour trip home, she messaged them [her employers] with her concerns about the day, the lack of toilet breaks, normal breaks and support, and asked if they would be sorting it out as they are only set to get busier over the next few days and into Saturday," Morris said. 

Three hours later, after receiving no response from her employers, Morris's daughter decided she would not be working at Nomad Coffee for the rest of Fieldays.

Nomad Coffee blamed the barista's "inexperience" for her busy day.
Nomad Coffee blamed the barista's "inexperience" for her busy day. Photo credit: Hay Morris / Facebook

Nomad Coffee finally came back to Maddy, after ignoring her previous texts, to say they were a "little disappointed by her inexperience", despite her many years as a McCafe barista. 

"Clearly you could not adapt to our environment and have made the best call to discontinue working at Fieldays," the employer wrote. 

Morris believes Nomad is "looking for young inexperienced kids who don't know their rights as employees". 

"If you're going out to Fieldays in the next few days, avoid the Nomad coffee pop-ups, this company is crap, I hope they treat their permanent staff better than their casuals," Morris concluded the post. 

Morris's post has stirred up a reaction among Facebook users, with over 500 people commenting on Nomad Coffee's "disrespectful" handling of the situation. 

"We have legislation that sets out the bare minimum in relation to breaks, this company needs to be taken to task," one user said. 

Another user commented that although Fieldays is a busy event, that was no excuse for the lack of breaks. 

"I've worked at Fieldays in the past and yes, it's super busy and hard work but those I worked for still ensured I had my breaks and could go to the toilet when needed, it's not actually that hard to be a decent employer," they said.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Morris's daughter should have been entitled to 3 x 10 minute paid rest breaks and one 30 minute unpaid break.

"Employers must pay for minimum rest breaks but don’t have to pay for meal breaks. Employers and employees should agree when the breaks are to be taken,"  Stu Lumsden, National Manager Labour Inspectorate told Newshub.  

"Rest breaks benefit workplaces by helping employees work safely and productively."

Morris's daughter Maddy told Newshub they were "overwhelmed" with the response they have received on the post. 

"We are hopeful it will encourage a positive change in the hospitality sector," she said. 

Nomad Coffee has not yet responded to Newshub's request for comment.