AMC Theatres / terrible everything
I was an employee for AMC for over 6 years. I've seen so much during that time, I'm wondering where to start. But here goes... I'll start with health code violations. During the beginning of my employment there, I worked as a concessioner. While there, I witnessed the procedure for making hot dogs was, well, substandard.
Although the first hot dogs of the day are made with the utmost care and in accordance with the state and federal health codes, the hot dogs made afterward however are not. Because the container with which we used to transfer the hot dogs to and from the hot dog cooker was never washed in between batches of hot dogs.
In fact, management never informed any employees that washing this container between batches was required. In the entire 6 years I was employed at AMC, I only witnessed the hot dog container being washed at the end of the night and never in between. One could say that material from the very first batch of hot dogs could have been present even on the last batch of the night.
I did my best to wash the container myself because it looked disgusting in between cooking and transferring but I could not monitor others as much. The meat thermometer used to check the temperature of the hot dogs was also unwashed until the end of the night and thus materials and germs were no doubt transferred from the first batch even to the last batch.
Another problem was mice. While I will admit that for the last couple of years I was there, there were no mice present, which is good, prior to that however, mice were everywhere. They were even reportedly caught tearing and digging into the candy in the display cases. A disturbing thought.
Things became so bad regarding mice and bugs for a while that codenames for mice and certain bugs were developed to be used in public and on the two-way radios we carried which would prevent others from knowing what we were talking about. For example mice were called Rhinos, Roaches were Alligators.
Another health code problem was what they did with the ice. We have two long plastic poles, which are shaped kind of like ores, which we used to break up the ice in the giant ice maker we have. These plastic poles were seldom washed and after they were used to break the ice, they were simply left laying on a shelf-like part of the ice maker, to gather dust, debris, bacteria, etc.
Now, on to business and employment practices. First is how they deal with breaks. While breaks are not required by law, if the employer has a policy regarding breaks, it is against the law for them to violate that policy. Employees are told during orientation that they are given 25 minute breaks for every 4 hours of work. This is not actually the case as is discovered later.
Many supervisory employees do try to give their workers breaks according to the policy. But many blatantly violate the policy without being disciplined and frequently, the employees are left without a single break. According to law, if they are not given the breaks that the policy requires, the employees are allowed to take a break after work with the clock still running. Very few of the employees are ever made aware of this.
Next is religious discrimination and harassment. Much of the employees at this particular theater were atheist or agnostic and regularly, publicly, poked fun at employees who had a personal faith. There was a church which rented out one of our auditoriums each week and I witnessed the employees making snide remarks at them and even plotting to commit some kind of prank or to destroy equipment belonging to the church. Some others claimed they were going punch the next one who greeted them.
Often, the managers are heard swearing a lot (against AMC rules of conduct prohibiting bad language in the workplace) and I got the feeling many times that I was being excluded from functions and parties because my faith requires me to hold my tongue when I feel angry rather than curse up a storm like the managers do.
I also witnessed leniency with regard to employees whose behavior matched that of the managers(By behavior, I am referring to regular swearing and mocking of religious employees). These employees were allowed to break rules which other employees were fired for. Such as verbally lashing out at customers, violating the dress code, etc.
Now, on to safety violations. I worked my way up to the projection booth where I was second in charge. While there, I noticed that our first aid kit was inadequate. There were never any band-aids, and antiseptic supplies were lacking. Whenever some one received an injury which required bandages, they were forced to run downstairs to the operations office, wait for a manager with clearance to open the door for them and allow them to retrieve a bandage. The same lack of first was present in the concession stand as well. I had informed management of the inadequate first aid kits and safety problems and my complaints were met with jokes.
Many times I was forced to fix electrical equipment with minimal safety equipment to protect me. Rubber gloves for example were scarce and finding ones thick enough to protect me from high voltage electrical shock was quite a chore. Occasionally these gloves proved not provide me with appropriate protection and I was electrocuted. A less experienced employee could be seriously injured or even killed.
Another safety violation is apparent when sick employees are forced to work concession and handle food. Not only is it dangerous for the employee but dangerous for the customer. A health and safety violation rolled into one. While AMC rules state that a doctor's note is not required for absences of two days or less, because that could discriminate against employees unable to pay for a doctor's examination, this particular theater did not abide by that rule however. Many employees absent for only one day were disciplined or fired.
Another disturbing fact is that the managing director at one point took small amounts of money from registers of employees to pay for a Foosball table. Noting that a register recorded as short 10 dollars or more required a write up, the managing director made sure 9 dollars or less was taken. This led to an investigation of him by the company. Nothing ever came of it however.
Other problems with AMC are not necessarily in violation of the law but in bad taste and inconsiderate. Such as, not paying employees overtime. The previous managing director before this person did pay employees overtime wages and holiday wages, but after he left and a new director took over, overtime and holiday pay were taken away from everyone. (Note: for most businesses this is illegal. Theaters however are exempt from paying employees overtime)
I believe it shows appreciation for employees when you pay them overtime and holiday pay, even if you don't have to. In fact no business is required by law to pay it's employees holiday pay, but they do anyway out of appreciation.
The company is also insensitive to disabled employees. Employees with emotional disorders are also discriminated against and not allowed to progress within the company even if they are fully capable of meeting the requirements of these positions.
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