Phil worked at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in The Miserable Mill. Phil was one of the friendlier mill workers, and helped the Baudelaires adjust to their new home. During the Baudelaires' stay at the lumbermill, Phil was injured by a mill machine, operated by Klaus (who was hypnotized at the time). Phil is an eternally optimistic character and was not upset about the accident, saying such things as "at least no one would ask whether I'm right legged or left legged".
It is suspected that Phil may have left his work at Lucky Smells Lumbermill due to a lack of sufficient pay; in The Miserable Mill he stated that he had read law books and learned that being paid with coupons is illegal, and despite bringing this up with Sir it is stated in The Penultimate Peril that the workers at the mill are still being paid in coupons.
In The Grim Grotto, Phil worked as a cook aboard the Queequeg manned by Captain Widdershins (who called him Cookie) and his stepdaughter, Fiona. Noticing Phil's limp, Klaus believed that Phil was still being affected by the stamping machine accident, but Phil informed him it was the result of a shark bite. He, along with Captain Widdershins, abandoned the Baudelaires and Fiona during the middle of the novel for unknown reasons (it is also possible that they were captured), and did not appear in The Penultimate Peril or in The End. Strangely, Kit never mentions Phil with Captain Widdershins in The End.
In the new 2017 series by Netflix, Phil is hypnotized by Dr. Orwell much like the rest of the workers. He is still optimistic, but his appearance is different. He is played by Chris Gauthier.