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Flight attendant claims she was fired over fall down stairs

A YOUNG Perth woman has had her dreams of becoming an international flight attendant ruined after Emirates fired her for tripping at work.

Former nurse Ciara Burke, 23, said she felt she had been given the opportunity of a lifetime when "the world's best airline" invited her to join its Emirates Aviation College to receive world-class training - an opportunity Ms Burke said only 5000 out of 200,000 international applicants are given.

Without any second thoughts, Ms Burke packed up her life in Perth to start her new life in Dubai. What 23-year-old wouldn't jump at an adventure like that?

But when Ms Burke was just days away from finishing her final assessments at the training college, it all came crashing down.

The aspiring international flight attendant said the prestigious airline fired her after she sustained serious injuries when she fell at the training facility while wearing her mandated Emirates uniform red high heels.

"I fell down an entire flight of stairs severely injuring my back and tearing a ligament in my ankle while at work, and the company covered it up," Ms Burke wrote on social media.

Following the incident, Ms Burke was forced to take medical leave, where she was confined to a back brace, cast, and then moonboot "for weeks". The extent of her injuries were so severe that she said she was seeing doctors and physiotherapists every two to three days to help control and ease the "indescribable pain".

Ms Burke claims Emirates management refused to admit it was a work-related injury and fired her - leaving her high and dry in a foreign country.

"A few weeks after the accident Emirates fired me and told me that my accident was NOT classed as a workplace accident but instead a 'freak accident'," she said.

"I wasn't allowed to defend myself or appeal the decision and there are no unions in Dubai that I could turn to for help. I was heartbroken and the saddest I have ever been. I was injured, alone and vulnerable."

Unions are illegal in Dubai - where Emirates is based - and there are different definitions of what is considered a workplace accident.

Ms Burke said she was then made to feel like a criminal when the airline gave her just seven days to pack up her life in Dubai.

"They gave me seven days to ... organise my belongings, say goodbye to my Dubai family and leave the country.

"They made me feel like a criminal by taking my passport and IDs off me and I had to hand papers into immigration as I passed through."

Now, back in Australia, it is 10 weeks after the accident and Ms Burke said she is still in immense pain and unable to go back to work as a nurse.

"I struggle to sleep most nights because of ongoing back discomfort and am still having troubles with my ankle - some days I can hardly walk because of pain," she wrote on social media.

"I haven't been able to go back to nursing because I need to be able to wear shoes."

Ms Burke claims hers is not an isolated case and she was warned.

"My heart remains shattered and I'm beyond disappointed that such a HUGE world renown company continues to get away with treating employees so badly," Ms Burke wrote.

"There are so many stories like mine that are shared among crew on a daily basis."

Emirates has responded to the claim, telling Fairfax Media it does not discuss information relating to past or present employees.

"During the probationary period, there is a dedicated team who assess performance, provide support and guidance and give regular feedback," the spokesperson said.

An Emirates panel then reviews the "crew member's performance" before a decision is made, the spokesperson is quoted as saying to Fairfax.

Ms Burke claims hers is not an isolated case and she was warned.

"My heart remains shattered and I'm beyond disappointed that such a HUGE world renown company continues to get away with treating employees so badly," Ms Burke wrote.

"There are so many stories like mine that are shared among crew on a daily basis."

Emirates has responded to the claim, telling Fairfax Media it does not discuss information relating to past or present employees.

"During the probationary period, there is a dedicated team who assess performance, provide support and guidance and give regular feedback," the spokesperson said.

An Emirates panel then reviews the "crew member's performance" before a decision is made, the spokesperson is quoted as saying to Fairfax.

Topics:  editors picks emirates fired flight attendant

News Corp Australia


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