Fast-food harassment | Moorepay
July 24, 2023

Fast-food harassment

man with burger in one hand, phone in the other

With the current media attention on a certain fast-food establishment and the various allegations of bullying, racial, and sexual harassment amongst their employees, it only highlights the need for a zero-tolerance approach when dealing with these types of claims. 

Each organisation should have clear and well written policies in place and train their staff on the importance of bully and harassment policies.   

A worker has a right to a safe working environment and the employer has a duty of care to provide this. All managers and employees alike should be managed effectively and fairly when dealing with any claims of harassment or bullying. The recent focus on the #MeToo movement has highlighted all types of sexual harassment and gender discrimination; and brought this to the attention of the media and public. It’s a disgusting situation that seems to be getting out of control. When will organisations and employers alike learn? 

A recent survey conducted by Foot Anstey with retail workers has found that one in ten (11%) have experienced ‘inappropriate touching of a sexual nature’ in their current role.  Equal numbers of men and women reported harassment with the survey engaging 319,000 retail workers across the UK. The types of harassment discussed include racial, homophobic and gender specific offensive language. Almost a third of men surveyed had experienced violent physical attacks; compared to women. Most of the aggressive and violent attacks were experienced and reported by customers.  

Don’t touch me

There is a worrying regularity of harassment and aggression experienced by surveyed retail staff, in fact almost a quarter (22%) said that there was no one they could raise concerns with, even a HR department or whistle blowing process. 

The people surveyed were also given the opportunity to share their experiences with researchers anonymously. One respondent commented: “One colleague made me sit on his lap once. And he was really close behind me. I could feel his warmth.”

Another said: “One particular colleague insists on touching people inappropriately. She is older and so everyone dismisses it as funny.”

What is harassment?

Harassment is “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which violates an individual’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.

Some Examples

The following are examples of behaviour which we find unacceptable: –

  • Coarse or insensitive jokes and pranks.
  • Coarse or insensitive comments about appearance or character.
  • Display or distribution of offensive material whether written or pictorial.
  • Inappropriate contributions to social networks, blogs or messaging services that potentially violate dignity.
  • Deliberate exclusion or isolation from conversation or activities.
  • Unwelcome familiarity or body contact.
  • Abusive, insulting, or threatening language.
  • Demands, threats or abuse of power to intimidate or obtain favours.
  • Threatened or actual violence.

Bullying and Harassment Policies

One way to ensure the duty of care and safety of your employee’s is to have a fully comprehensive bullying and harassment policy. Not only that but to train managers and employees on the importance of reporting such incidents when they occur. This allows the business to manage each case fairly and independently as required. This will build trust, loyalty, and retention by having effective policies and processes in place. Employee’s need to be heard and employers have a right to make them be heard.

For further information and discussion about how Moorepay can help your business manage this or if you have any bullying and harassment concerns, please contact the advice line team or telephone 0845 073 0240 for assistance.

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Stephen Johnson
About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.