At 23, Ciara landed her dream job. Now, she’s returned home under devastating circumstances.

Video by Mamamia

Nine months ago, 23-year-old Ciara Burke was preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime.

She’d been selected from over 200,000 applicants to attend Emirates Aviation College in Dubai. While she was “filled with emotion”, the young aspiring flight attended packed up her life and moved halfway across the world.

After months of travelling the world and sharing her travels with her family and friends on Instagram, Ciara has returned home under devastating circumstances, claiming she was fired after she fell down a flight of stairs in her uniform’s heels while at work.

For all the people that continue to message me asking why I am home – here it is… I gave up everything I worked hard for and left my family to go work for what is said to be ‘the worlds best airline’… in my opinion (and THOUSANDS of others) it is FAR from ‘the best’. From day one i among many others were warned of the foul play that occurs within the company. This became increasingly apparent to me when I fell down an entire flight of stairs severely injuring my back and tearing a ligament in my ankle WHILST AT WORK and the company COVERED IT UP! I was in a back brace and a cast which changed to Moonboot for weeks. I was seeing doctors and physiotherapists every 2-3 days to help control and ease the indescribable pain. A few weeks after the accident Emirates fired me and told me that my accident was NOT classed as a work place accident but instead a ‘freak accident’.. 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 EVER been. I was injured, alone and vulnerable. They gave me seven days to pack/ sell and organise my belongings, say goodbye to my Dubai family and leave the country.. They kept a months worth of my salary from me and made me pay a substantial amount of money to them to cover costs of termination. 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…it’s now 10wks post the accident -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 … I haven’t been able to go back to nursing because I need to be able to wear shoes – It’s only now in the last week that I have been able to put a shoe on my foot. My heart remains shattered and I’m beyond disappointed that such a HUGE world renown company continues to get away with treating employees so so badly. There are so many stories like mine that are shared amongst crew on a daily basis as well as many similar stories all over the Internet.. read more in the comments + photos on my story #emiratescabincrew

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“I gave up everything I worked hard for and left my family to go work for what is said to be ‘the worlds best airline’…in my opinion… it is FAR from ‘the best’,” she wrote.

“This became increasingly apparent to me when I fell down an entire flight of stairs severely injuring my back and tearing a ligament in my ankle WHILST AT WORK and the company COVERED IT UP!”

Ciara said she was put in a back brace and a cast after the accident and had to visit doctors and physiotherapists every few days to help ease her “indescribable pain”.

Then, a few weeks later, she claims the airline fired her for taking the time off to heal after her fall. She says she was also told her the injuries would not be classed as a work place accident, but instead a “freak accident”.

In Dubai, unions are illegal, and the classifications for what can be deemed a workplace accident differ greatly from Australia.

“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 EVER been.

“I was injured, alone and vulnerable. They gave me seven days to pack/ sell and organise my belongings, say goodbye to my Dubai family and leave the country.

“They kept a months worth of my salary from me and made me pay a substantial amount of money to them to cover costs of termination. 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.”

Ciara said it’s been ten weeks since the accident, and she’s had to move back in with her parents in Perth.

She said she still struggles to sleep and walk due to her ongoing pain. She hasn’t been able to return to her previous job as a nurse, because her injuries don’t allow her to wear shoes or stand for long periods of time.

Ciara – who was just days away from graduating and become a fully-fledged Emirates flight attendant – said her heart is “shattered” over how she was treated.

In a statement to Fairfax Media, the airline said it did not discuss information regarding past of present airline employees.

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

“A panel then thoroughly reviews all aspects of a crew member’s performance prior to any decision being made.”

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