Care with Flare – supporting your staff on World Bartender Day 2024

Care with Flare – supporting your staff on World Bartender Day 2024

Bartenders are crucial to Scotland’s hospitality sector and with World Bartender Day on 24th February, Craig McCracken, an employment law specialist at Anderson Strathern, highlights some challenges bartenders face at work. He also recommends ways employers can help their bartenders feel happy and supported at work, and hopefully to retain talented people for longer.

Minimising work-related violence

Due to the nature of bar work, there is an increased risk of work-related violence through alcohol, long shifts and difficult customers. Employers have a legal duty to protect all staff from this. The Health and Safety Executive defines work-related violence as ‘Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.’ This can include verbal abuse or threats.

Employers should:

  • Implement control measures to prevent or reduce violence, e.g. providing adequate staffing, security, lighting, communication and emergency systems, and designing the layout and workplace equipment to minimise conflict potential.
  • Provide training for staff on how to prevent and deal with violent situations, e.g., recognising and defusing aggression, and reporting and recording incidents.
  • Support staff who are involved in violent incidents.
  • Review and evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken to prevent or reduce violence and make improvements when necessary.

Since 2021, Scotland’s ‘Get Me Home Safely’ campaign has encouraged employers, particularly in the licensed trade, to provide safe and free transport home for staff working past 11pm, or their latest public transport option. This has been backed by multiple Scottish councils, and in December 2022, Glasgow licensing board introduced a policy where any new alcohol licence applicant, and existing operators applying for extended operating hours, must provide safe and free transport home for staff working late.

Tackling taboos – menstrual health at work

Recently, the CIPD reported that more than two-thirds of employees who menstruate have experienced a negative impact at work due to their symptoms. Oftentimes, women won’t tell their employer when their period is causing them issues at work. In an occupation where over half of employees are female, it is good advice for employers to take steps to tackle this issue and support female staff regarding this matter.

Last year, a new BSI standard was published on menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace which provides guidance on how employers can develop good practice to support their staff. The advice covers culture, training, facilities, whether policies consider menstruation and menopause, and adjustments such as flexible working and comfort.

Ways to support bartenders include:

  • Provide easy access to toilets and free period products. Even having an accessible supply of pain relief or heat packs available could prevent staff from needing to leave early.
  • Encourage good channels of communication to normalise conversations around menstrual health.

Addressing sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious issue affecting many sectors, including hospitality and leisure. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that violates dignity or creates an offensive environment. It can include verbal or physical behaviour, such as sexual comments, jokes, gestures, and/or touching.

The new Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2024, introduces a new legal duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the workplace. This means employers should:

  • Adopt and communicate a clear and comprehensive policy on sexual harassment, defining what it is, how to report it, and how it will be addressed.
  • Provide regular mandatory training for all staff on sexual harassment, including recognising, preventing and responding to it, and how to support victims.
  • Encourage a zero-tolerance culture.
  • Monitor and review the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment in your workplace, taking corrective and preventive measures as needed.
  • Investigate and deal with complaints promptly, fairly and confidentially, taking appropriate disciplinary action against perpetrators.

Managing staff is one of the most difficult tasks employers face. Keeping these considerations in mind will help foster a supportive business culture, demonstrating to staff that they are valued.

Craig can help with policies and training programmes relating to these complex topics, as well as with monitoring tools so you can effectively support staff as well as exhibit diligence if you ever need to investigate a complaint.

Contact Craig or your usual Anderson Strathern contact for confidential and expert advice.

This article features in OnTrade Scotland magazine.

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