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Employment Liability for Restaurant Owners

How Restaurant Owners Can Protect Against Liability

Employment liability for restaurant owners is greater than in any other industry. Evidence of this fact lies in the number of claims filed by or through the EEOC. It is vital that you take steps to minimize liability and protect your interests.

Tips for reducing employment liability for restaurant owners

Complaints range from sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination to wage and hour and other issues.

QSR recommends a number of practices to protect against claims.

Create policies and procedures

Restaurant owners should issue employee handbooks that lay out policies for employee treatment. Every year, owners should review their policies to ensure they are up-to-date with new laws or regulatory changes. The policies must explain the employees’ rights and their recourse if they have complaints. The handbook should outline:

  • Reporting protocols
  • How to lodge a complaint
  • How to report inappropriate behavior and rules for doing so
  • Investigation procedures
  • Who performs investigations
  • How investigations are done
  • When investigations have completed

Open the doors to communication

Claims mount when communication closes down. You should provide immediate and thoughtful responses to complaints. This will reduce the likelihood of a claim being filed. Take action to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

Put everything in writing

Document complaints and requests in written form. In the event of a claim, having documentation is crucial. Keep all written correspondence in a separate investigation file. Even verbal communications should be summarized and you should send the email summaries to employees. Investigations require a written conclusion, even when the allegations did not have merit.

Train employees

Employees must receive training as to what constitutes:

  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation

Managers must also receive training regarding the proper way to handle complaints. Ensure they receive training on disability discrimination. Managers and supervisors should receiving training as to what questions are appropriate and inappropriate regarding disability. They should know what the requirements are for providing reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.

As an employer, do you have questions about implementing work policies that prohibit discrimination or unacceptable workplace practices?

If you have questions or concerns, it is wise to get a legal opinion. You can consult with our attorneys at Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C. We are glad to provide you with experienced legal guidance. Call (718) 275-6500 to arrange an appointment.