Avoiding Workplace Violence: Tips And Best Practices For Hospitality Employers
By Fisher Phillips
Whether internal or external, violence in the workplace is an increasingly problematic issue that employers must learn to effectively minimize and prevent. This is even more important in the hospitality industry, given the constant interaction with the public, the high rate of turnover, and the added responsibility of dealing with available cash. It is imperative that employers recognize and understand the need to take constant and active steps to address both internal and external potential threats of workplace violence.
Before And After You Hire: Internal Threats Of Violence
Internal threats of workplace violence require separate considerations from external threats. Preventing internal threats of violence generally requires a focus on pre-employment screening, employee monitoring, and effective employee training. Hospitality managers can think about this as occurring in two phases: before the hire and after the hire.
Before You Hire
An important time to begin taking measures to prevent and minimize workplace violence is during the hiring process. Effective pre-employment screening can help you avoid hiring employees with red-flag behavior. Some steps that hospitality employers can take to avoid future instances of workplace violence include:
- Criminal history and background checks. You are permitted to conduct criminal history and background checks for job applicants. While federal law prohibits the use of this information in ways that would discriminate against or disparately affect protected classes (e.g., race and national origin), you can use previous convictions, and sometimes arrests, as a screening tool, on a case-by-case basis, where such convictions may relate to an essential job requirement. With the level of daily customer contact present in the hospitality industry, properly conducted criminal history screenings, particularly where there is a history of violent crime, can work to prevent future incidents of workplace violence. Note, however, that state and local laws often govern the use of background checks by employers, so you should consult with legal counsel on best practices for implementing this screening tool.