HR-related Articles

Human Resources Issues in Hospitality

HR Issues in the Hospitality Industry The fast-paced hospitality industry can be a pleasant and social atmosphere to work in for people who enjoy interacting with others. Unfortunately, working in a somewhat casual atmosphere can sometimes cause HR issues in hospitality-oriented businesses that result in costly lawsuits and stressful situations for managers and employers. The good news is that implementing a few solid policies within your company procedures can reduce the instances of employee
incidents and protect your business from false lawsuits.

1. Sexual Harassment

One of the more prevalent HR issues in the hospitality industry is sexual harassment. Though most employees and associates are well aware of what is considered inappropriate behavior in the workplace, applying solid sexual harassment awareness and prevention
procedures to your company policies can help you avoid a costly wrongful termination suit. One way to protect your business from such suits and accusations is to require that all newly hired employees enter into a code of conduct and behavior agreement that clearly outlines
inappropriate behavior and the subsequent repercussions. Keeping accurate records of reported employee incidents, warnings and suspensions and following written procedures can help alleviate sexual harassment issues in the workplace.

2. Job Descriptions and Employee Agreements

Two of the most important documents you can share with hospitality employees are a formal job description and an employee agreement. Every cook, server, bartender or other related position must have a clearly outlined list of duties and responsibilities to abide by. Many
trusting employers have found themselves shelling out legal fees and restitution to former employees claiming injury or personal loss due to misconceptions about their job descriptions. If you clearly outline each position in writing and have your employees sign an agreement stating that they have been informed of exactly what their positions entail, you will ensure that you can overcome false suits and avoid litigation.

3. Procedures and Policies

Company policies and procedures in the hospitality industry are only effective when properly and consistently followed. Working with the public in the fast-paced food and beverage industry often allows for casual interaction and friendships. However, letting things "slide" and
not documenting employee incidents and misbehavior can lead to trouble and expense down the road. Many times establishments will turn the other cheek when a valued employee violates a company rule or policy or fails to report a work-related injury. Not applying your
policies to incidents such as this can result in costly lawsuits if an employee is injured on-site or files an unfair dismissal claim.

4. Theft

Theft is a major--and tricky--issue in the hospitality industry that is most often dealt with extremely carefully by hotel, bar and restaurant owners and managers. When waiters, chefs, cashiers and bartenders have access to company stock and cash drawers it is important to keep an accurate inventory and adequate surveillance in areas where cash and inventory is handled. Many business owners and managers overlook the fact that even if you catch an employee in the act of stealing--by eyewitness or video tape--you must first offer him the opportunity to "show cause" as to why he should retain his job before terminating him. Allowing staff members accused of theft the chance to explain themselves can be the determining factor in whether you win or lose an expensive wrongful termination suit.

5. Complete Induction and Orientation Process

So often in the hospitality industry managers and training personnel focus only on the main or basic responsibilities of a position when training new employees. Preparing a comprehensive and thorough orientation meeting for all new hires can save you from a considerable amount of issues and expense among injured, disgruntled, resigning or terminated staff members. A full employee induction that includes written codes of conduct, company policies, job descriptions and signed employee agreements can document the fact that your staff has been properly trained and informed of aspects of their positions and consequences of insubordination or unacceptable behavior.



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The AHRM Secretariat

Ms. Angie Blanco
Dean, Asian School of Hospitality Arts
26 Kamias Road, West Kamias, Quezon City