Adopt a Plan to Prevent Workplace Violence
Texas Hotel & Lodging Association
On September 29, 2016, a Houston hotel employee was shot after confronting thieves attempting to burglarize vehicles in the hotel’s parking lot.
Thankfully he survived, but sadly, this incident does not stand alone. Across the nation, almost 2 million workers report being victims to workplace violence each year. As employers, we have a legal and a moral obligation to mitigate potential workplace violence and keep our employees safe from both internal and external threats.
Have a Policy
Under the OSHA law, employers must provide their employees with a safe and healthful workplace. This safe workplace requirement has been interpreted by many courts to include protecting employees from violence. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury).
Every employer should take the proactive step to create a workplace violence policy to show their commitment to keeping workers safe. THLA has a sample policy you should consider adopting for your lodging property so you are ready for a potential OSHA audit. Download this sample policy here:
Step 1: create a policy,
Step 2: make sure employees know how to recognize potential threats, and react appropriately.
Step 3: Providing employees with annual training on how to analyze and react to potential threats. American Hotel & Lodging Association's Educational Institute has an online training portal available: https://www.ahlei.org/eye_on_liability/index.html.
Additionally, the hotel property may consider contacting the local police department. Oftentimes, police departments have community development departments that can provide no-cost training to businesses.
Finally, hotel security consultants can be hired to provide on-site or remote training. Contact a THLA attorney for recommendations: .
In addition to the steps outlined above:
•Foster an environment where employees are comfortable reporting their concerns to hotel management. Threats can come both internally and externally.
•If an employee expresses a concern, take it seriously. Conduct a thorough investigation, and take necessary steps to protect the reporting employee from potential harm. Never ignore an employee’s concerns.
Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and our guests. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a THLA attorney: , 512-474-2996.