New Item: The Overlooked Role Of Physician Trust In Patients – healthaffairs.org

On June 1, 2022, a patient purchased an AR-15-style rifle, walked into a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical building and murdered four people, including the well-regarded surgeon who had recently operated on him. While such targeted fatal attacks on physicians are rare in the US, violence against health care workers is alarmingly common. As of 2018, health care and social service workers were five times more likely than those in other sectors to experience workplace violence and accounted for “a whopping 73 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.” Nearly half of emergency department doctors have been physically assaulted. Nurses have been kicked in the ribs, thrown against walls, bitten, choked, and concussed, and 60 percent have been sexually harassed.

COVID-19 has further exacerbated the vulnerability of these “frontline” workers. More than 600 pandemic-related incidents against health care providers were recorded between February and July of 2020 alone, and a notable spike in racist attacks against Asian Americans has occurred since the start of the pandemic. A man followed a female Chinese American doctor to the subway from Massachusetts General Hospital, shouting, “Why are you Chinese people killing everyone? Why the f— are you killing us?” A New York medical student from Thailand was called “China Virus” before being dragged to the ground and left bloodied and bruised. Such incidents have served to compound an already serious problem of patient-physician abuse in the form of racism and discrimination. One study found that 59 percent of US physicians had heard offensive remarks targeting personal characteristics such as their race, age, gender, weight, or sexual orientation, and nearly half had had a patient request a different doctor.

Recognizing the scale of this problem, in June 2022 US Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Larry Bucshon, MD, (R-IN) introduced the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act, bipartisan federal legislation that would establish criminal penalties for knowingly assaulting or intimidating a hospital employee. The bill includes enhanced penalties for acts involving the use of a dangerous weapon or committed during a public emergency, and would also provide $25 million in grants to hospitals for programs aimed at reducing violent incidents in health care settings. In a letter supporting the bill, the American Hospital Association (AHA) emphasized that the impacts of such violence go beyond the harms caused to members of their workforce—they also make it harder for health care providers to do their jobs. Workplace violence has been shown to reduce employee productivity and patient satisfaction while increasing the potential for adverse medical events. In other words, violence in health care can be a vicious cycle, leading to even more disenchantment among patients and their families and increasing the risks of aggression.

These knock-on effects could be especially devastating given that public trust in health care institutions is declining. A 2018 Gallup poll found that just 34 percent of the general public had a positive view of the health care industry, compared with 80 percent in 1975. More than one in five US adults have reported experiencing discrimination in the health care system. Hospital settings can also be hotbeds of stress caused by illness and fear. The vulnerability and emotional volatility that patients and their families experience are major contributors to distrust and aggression. But while it has long been established that patients place their health in the hands of doctors and must navigate the trust issues arising from this vulnerability, increased violence and other harmful behavior against health care workers has made it clear that workers’ need to be able to trust their patients is an equally critical topic that has gone largely overlooked.

The Nature Of Trust

These dual lines of trust, patient-doctor and doctor-patient, have more in common than may first meet the eye—one party (ideally) trusts the other not to do them harm. Patients commonly make this assessment along two primary axes: whether physicians are competent to provide accurate diagnoses, prescribe treatment regimens, or undertake procedures; and whether physicians have goodwill, in the sense of being willing to put patients’ interests before their own. Although physicians enjoy high trust as a profession and take a pledge to “do no harm,” individual patient decisions about whether to trust a physician remain fraught because violations of trust do occur. Some doctors fail to correctly diagnose conditions or successfully undertake procedures, even when they possess the best of intentions. And occasionally, physicians even intentionally harm patients.

But as recent events have made clear, the potential for harm to physicians requires them to evaluate their patients’ trustworthiness, too. They too must assess whether their patients have goodwill toward them—or, at least, do not mean them harm. And they also have to assess whether patients are competent to reason soundly, manage their emotions, and communicate about their health care challenges through non-violent means. Indeed, some patients harm their doctors not because they harbor ill will, but because their capacity to regulate their behavior is reduced due to the temporary influence of drugs and alcohol, a mental health crisis, or a chronic medical condition such as dementia.

Certainly, there are asymmetries in these relationships, and the scope of trust required by each party is imperfectly aligned. There are differential power and financial dynamics, varying stakes, and the two parties face markedly different competency concerns. That said, the nature of trust in a doctor-patient relationship remains reciprocal. Each version of trust informs the other—in which a patient believes their physician doubts or distrusts them, they are more likely to doubt or distrust their physician.

But also: The more patients harm their health care providers, intentionally or unintentionally, the more difficult it will be for those providers to trust them, leading to yet another unfortunate pattern: physicians pulling back on some of the behaviors thought to be most trust-building, for example, talking about their personal lives, building rapport, displaying compassion, or giving out their personal cell phone numbers. This pattern can feed the erosion of trust between patients and providers, since the less providers do to signal trustworthiness, the less patients will be willing to be vulnerable to them and, in turn, the less providers will be willing to be vulnerable to their patients.

Going Forward, Centering Trust

Myriad calls have been made to rebuild a sense of trust and safety in the health care setting, and it may seem obvious that this is the necessary path forward. But, as a recent review of the trust literature in health services research and health policy by three of this article’s coauthors (forthcoming in Milbank Quarterly) revealed, for all that has been written on trust (~725 papers over 50 years), fewer than a handful of these papers addressed provider trust in patients at all. Perhaps this is the result of an assumption that physicians must trust patients as part of their professional duties. Nonetheless, trust is so crucial to the therapeutic relationship that concerted efforts must be made to address this oversight in light of ongoing threats.

Whether through the proposed SAVE Act and its attendant grant funding, or by alternative mechanisms to address the growing problem of violence against health care workers, we urge the research community as well as federal and institutional actors to recognize the value of incorporating the issue of provider trust in patients in future research. This potential value should inform the communities’ decisions about whether and how to devote further resources to unpacking the difficult issue of trust—how to assess it, how to build it, and how to use it to create a safer world for physicians and patients alike. We also see an important role for health systems to earn the trust of patients, support clinicians, and interrupt the cycle of mistrust between patients and clinicians.

The health care community is right to be concerned about emerging evidence that patients increasingly distrust the health care system at large, as well as the uptick in violence and other harms perpetrated against health care workers. It’s not hyperbolic to say that trust is what the whole health care delivery system runs on—and where it’s absent, we see major breakdowns. But the same is true about the trust that needs to flow from doctors to patients. Without it, the system will be similarly in jeopardy. Hence, our efforts to build patient trust should be matched by careful consideration of how to preserve physician trust in patients.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Solons seek ratification of ILO treaty vs gender-based workplace violence – GMA News Online

Lawmakers on Monday called for the Philippine ratification of the International Labor Organization Convention 190 (C-190), the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, as the treaty addresses the special concerns on the vulnerability of women in the workplace.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, Gabriela party-list lawmaker Arlene Brosas, and House Gender and Women Equality panel Chairperson Rachel Arenas of Pangasinan made the call to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The occasion also saw the launch of an exhibit highlighting the  salient provisions of C-190, as well as policy recommendations to strengthen existing laws on protecting women from violence and harassment in the world of work.

Lagman said that C-190 emphasizes the right of everyone to work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

The treaty also acknowledges that gender-based violence and harassment disproportionately affects women and girls and should be addressed with an inclusive, integrated, and gender-responsive approach.

C-190 defines gender-based violence and harassment as violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex or gender, or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately, and includes sexual harassment.

“The face of labor migration is now the face of a woman. In fact, almost 60% of Overseas Filipino Workers as of 2020 are women who are employed in services, mostly household employment,” Lagman said in his speech.

He added that the most perilous places in the world of work are the private homes of foreign employers where women workers are usually subjected to physical and sexual violence.

“As more women become part of the workforce, both domestically and globally, then the relevance and importance of ILO C-190 cannot be overemphasized. In the Philippines, data from the Philippine Statistics Office show that almost 50% of the workforce are women workers,” Lagman added.

In addition, Lagman said that violence against women constituted a serious violation of human rights, with United Nations entities reporting that violence against women and girls is not only one of the worst forms of discrimination but also the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation in the world.

“Accordingly, let me congratulate the Gabriela Women’s Partylist, the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, and the Department of Labor and Employment, as well as parliamentarians and advocates, for being in the forefront in the campaign for the ratification of ILO C-190 as we mark November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,” Lagman added.

“Together, we shall succeed in making every home, space and workplace a peaceful sanctuary for women and girls.”

Brosas, for her part, noted that women workers in the Philippines have become extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse, characterized by low wages, lack of benefits, union busting, and unsafe work conditions.

“These are why the launching of this network and exhibit is timely as we ramp up all efforts to fight gender-based discrimination and violence in the world of work. Now, more than ever, we must broaden our alliances and networks to highlight the issues of women workers and enjoin all advocates in addressing the worsening economic crisis,” she said.

“Panawagan ng Gabriela Women’s Party na i-ratify ng Marcos Jr. administration ang C190 na mag-aaddress ng policy-making gaps sa usapin ng karahasan sa kababaihan sa mundo ng paggawa,” Brosas added.

Arenas, in closing, said gender-based violence on women was so pervasive that it was likely every woman, including lawmakers, became a victim of such violence or knows someone who has been at the receiving end of such aggression.

“Everyone of us has experienced harassment of various kinds in our workplace. We hear the same plight from our constituents, including online harassment and other tactics to scare women to submission. This is the same for those who work abroad,” Arenas said.

“While the Philippines has laws and policies that value gender equality, ILO C190 will enhance these, especially in the workplace setting. This is a call to action and deep commitment to see this ILO C190 come to life, not only in our country, but in the whole world,” Arenas added. — DVM, GMA Integrated News

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Safety Leadership: 3 topics that got our attention in 2022 – Safety+Health Magazine

Editor’s Note: Achieving and sustaining an injury-free workplace demands strong leadership. In this monthly column, experts from global consulting firm DEKRA share their point of view on what leaders need to know to guide their organizations to safety excellence.

As I think back on safety in 2022, a few trends begin to emerge. We continue to manage COVID-19 in the workplace, but attend any safety conference, look on social media or read through your latest copy of Safety+Health and you’re likely to find coverage of:

  • Employee mental health and well-being
  • Serious injury and fatality prevention
  • Workplace violence

The attention given to these topics is much needed.

Employee mental health and well-being directly impacts an organization’s performance

A look at some of the words used in recent headlines – pandemic, inflation, invasion, election, unemployment, recession – is a reminder of the numerous challenges we face, most of which aren’t directly within our control. Adding personal stresses (work- and home-related) to the equation creates a synergistic effect on mental health that can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Over the past year, I’ve seen many high-performing organizations take a strong stance on mental health challenges and employee well-being, including:

  • Understanding how workplace conditions and culture can affect employee mental health
  • Ensuring leadership prioritizes mental health and well-being
  • Working to prevent mental distress and providing support to employees
  • Making resources available to, and known by, employees. For every dollar invested in mental health treatment, there’s a $4 return in improved health and productivity.

SIF prevention is becoming more engrained

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the data showed a 10.7% decrease in workplace fatalities (to 4,764 from 5,333). Not surprisingly, the normalized fatal work-injury rate showed a marginal decrease of 3% (to 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.5). As a result, SIF prevention has continued to be a hot topic.

As more and more organizations begin to understand controlling or eliminating exposures with SIF potential versus solely trying to eliminate fatalities by reducing first aid cases (think the Heinrich triangle), the tide begins to shift. Now that organizations understand this new paradigm, they’re focusing on how to incorporate SIF prevention into their safety management systems. As SIF prevention continues to evolve, incident classification, systems and processes, scheduled vs. unscheduled, corrective actions, governance, exposure-reduction teams, etc., are topics of conversation.

Workplace violence continues to alarm

Think back to a decade ago. How many times did we include a discussion on active-shooter situations? Not very often, I’d guess. Today, these conversations are routine. It’s an unfortunate reality, so we must be proactive in our planning and preparation.

According to BLS, about 20,000 employees in private industry experienced trauma in the workplace in 2020. And about 390 employees were homicide victims. As a result, organizations are fortifying their systems by:

  • Reviewing their zero-tolerance policies
  • Training employees to recognize the warning signs
  • Conducting emergency preparation and response through tabletop exercises
  • Providing worksite assessments to help identify hazards and employee protections
  • Fostering psychological safety

Looking forward

This past year was an interesting one in safety. I expect employee mental health and well-being, SIF prevention, and workplace violence to continue to dominate in 2023 – and that technology will further embed itself into how we manage them.

 

This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

George Bower, CIH, CSP, is an executive consultant in DEKRA’s (dekra.us) consulting practice. He has more than 20 years of progressive high-level experience in occupational safety and health, working in the automotive, primary metals, plastics, heavy equipment, chemical, health care, aviation, tel-ecommunications, and pulp and paper industries.

 

 

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: What Retailers Can Do to Protect Employees From Workplace Violence During the Holiday Season – Jackson Lewis

Alitia Faccone:

Welcome to Jackson Lewis’s podcast, We get work, focused solely on workplace issues. It is our job to help employers develop proactive strategies, strong policies, and business-oriented solutions to cultivate an engaged, stable and inclusive workforce. Our podcast identifies issues that influence and impact the workplace, and its continuing evolution and helps answer the question on every employer’s mind. How will my business be impacted?

Alitia Faccone:

During the busy holiday season, retailers work harder than any other time of the year, and consequently, an experience and uptick in workplace incidents involving customer and coworker misbehavior. On this episode of We get Work and in preparation for the holiday rush, we discuss the importance of retailers establishing a workplace violence prevention plan, identifying and evaluating environmental risk factors, and implementing corrective measures. Our host today are Laura Pierson-Scheinberg, a principal in Jackson Lewis’s San Francisco, and Baltimore offices, a member of the firm’s labor group and leader of the retail industry group. Laura also spearheads the Caffeinated Organizing Service team, which addresses the recent uptick of union activity in the retail and restaurant industries. She has spoken in front of numerous professional associations, including the Retail Industry Leadership Association’s, Retail Law Conference, the National Retail Federation, and the National Restaurant Association’s Sixth Annual Law Summit.

Our co-host, Christina Brooks of council in the Albuquerque office is a veteran of the Department of Labor. She focuses her practice on occupational safety and health issues in the workplace. Christina is an avid believer in the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”. Laura and Christina, the question on everyone’s mind today is how do I protect my employees and shoppers against workplace violence this holiday season, and how will this impact my business?

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

Kristina, I was in Union Square in San Francisco this week, and the tree is up, the ice rink is there, it’s getting into the holiday season. And one of the things that I have been hearing a trend really before Covid, but now rising and really, really at a fever pitch already is not only the smash and grabs height in that, but just general decorum from customers, from coworkers. And so as we go into the holiday season when tensions are going to be high for that anyway, I think we should talk about what we can prepare our clients for in being ready for that experience.

Kristina T. Brooks:

Laura, I 100% agree with you. I think we go into the holiday seasons with an open heart and expectations and this joyousness, and then we walk into our mall or an establishment to buy the perfect gift for our loved ones, and pandemonium seems to be on the rise.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

Well Kristina, “the customer’s always right”. I think that’s baked into the American shopping experience, and I think out of it, especially people who are dying to get out from home after the pandemic and finally get into malls and not necessarily online shopping. Do people know how to act anymore?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Well not only my personal experience, but also the statistics show that people have kind of, they’re exhibiting bad behavior and a sense of entitlement that I think comes out of that true American saying that you said that, “the customer’s always right”. And that is something that our retail clients are going to have to deal with this holiday season. So for example, when we talk about violence, it can deal with intimidation, harassment, it encompasses all sorts of different type of conduct, not only by your customers, but also by other employees working at the store. And we have seen a rise in those types of complaints, both for interactions with customers and the person that they’re working side by side every day.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

So what safeguards do you think that our clients should be thinking about as retailers to be ready for those incidents when they occur?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Sure. So one of the main things that retailers should be looking at is whether or not they have a written emergency response plan. And to some this might seem very over the top, “are we really going to get hit by workplace violence?” And the answer really is yes. So Laura, if you don’t mind to share a couple statistics from the last several years about the rise of workplace violence in retail establishments in particular.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

So this customer isn’t always right mindset. Let’s look at what we’re seeing in workplace violence. So I’ve pulled some statistics. So from 2018 to 2020, assaults reported to the FBI, law enforcement agencies rose over 42%. They increased 63% in grocery stores and 75% in convenience stores. One of more than 2 million assaults across the country in 2020, more than 82,000, about 4% were at shopping malls, convenience stores, and other retail locations. So when we think about these statistics Kristina, what are you thinking about as far as how does the rubber meet the road in the actual retail space out there?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Laura, the way that it meets is that when you have agencies like OSHA or state agencies looking at what industries. Where are we seeing violence, how best to protect employees. They’re going to start looking at areas of, if we’re seeing this, are the parking lots safe. At shopping malls, people coming and going, can they restrict them bringing in weapons? How does that interact with our security guards that we’re hiring? OSHA just had an inspection in Idaho that dealt with a security company and how they handled repeat offenders coming into the mall space with guns, because that is going to impact the retail establishments within that mall of how the security agencies are able to address violence. So these statistics are extremely important when targeting effective mediation strategies. So as an employer, you’re not going to just throw everything at the wall for security measures. You really need to start thinking strategically of what abatement’s going to work? Do we restrict how we have people go to the parking lot? Do we restrict hours of operation in the evenings? Do we ensure that there’s more than one person on site working so somebody can call for help? So those are the types of things why I think statistics become important, is really looking at how then do we prevent and control workplace violence from happening in the first place. And when it does what’s effective?

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

And the other piece of that is if you’re going to outsource it to an asset protection company or a security company, make sure that they’re properly vetted and that they’re doing the requirements, meeting the requirements there to ensure that your retail space is safe.

Kristina T. Brooks:

Exactly. I think a lot of times employers forget that when you hire third party contractors, that there is still a duty there to ensure that their folks are trained and that they really receive the same training on your safety and health programs. So here it would be what is your workplace violence policies and procedures and to make sure that everybody’s on the same page, a third party contractor and your first line employees. And honestly, during the holiday season, when we have an influx of seasonal workers, are they trained and do they know how to interact with those third party contractors?

So starting with customers bad behavior. There was a situation just recently in California, may of this year, customer drove up through a drive through, placed an order, and it was wrong. And the employee did what they were supposed to do, they refunded the money, they apologized, they made it right, and in response, the customer threw a drink all over the employee. And so people might not think of that as workplace violence, but that is, that’s a workplace violence. They were covered in a drink and it was really unnecessary. The employee took those steps. But it’s important for an employer to say in those types of situations, we can’t just let it go unaddressed. We actually have to have a plan in place of how that employee’s going to address it and their managers and supervisors. Not only for that employee, so they’re not filing a complaint, so they feel safe, so they really know what to do in those situations.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

So let’s take that vignette for a second, where the customer has behaved badly, the employee did everything right. What do you recommend that the retailer do?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Well, there’s a couple things. Number one, they should have a plan in place already. So the manager should approach that employee, talk to them about the situation, ask them what they can do to help them, and really make them know that this type of conduct is not okay. Now on the other hand, you have an irate customer. And many times, and this I think goes into where another problem arises, is what do you do with the customer? Many times retailers want to make the problem go away. So they hand them a gift card, they say, “we’re so sorry for the mistake”, and employees are left feeling that it’s their fault. That they did something wrong, and that the customer is always right. So it’s important for a plan to have training where they proactively talk to their employees. If we encounter this situation, this is how we as a company want to handle it.

And it’s not because we think they’re right and you’re wrong. It’s because this is what’s going to deescalate the situation. This is what’s going to be the most protective of our employees, and this really is the way that we would like to handle this. It’s like with kids, you tell them up front, right. If you do X, this is going to be the consequence. And then when it happens, they’re prepared for it. They know what’s coming. And I think that’s really important in a workplace, is that it’s important to have policies and procedures upfront in place. You hope you never have to implement them. But when you do, then your folks know how it’s going to be handled, and they know the expectations so they’re not confused or upset about it on the back end.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

So Kristina, as we think about making it practical for our clients and the retailers, how would you communicate? What do you think is a best practice in how to communicate this policy that’s sort on a shelf or on the internet?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Laura, there’s several ways that an employer can approach their employees and train them about what exactly it is that they expect and how they’re going to handle any kind of workplace violence situation. I think the best place to start with is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration actually put out guidance. Now while it pertains mostly to late night retail establishments, I think the basic principles really are a great starting point for retail establishments in general. So for example, they say, “let’s start with a work site analysis. Talk to your employees, find out when they may or have concerns”. It could be out in a parking lot, walking to and from maybe in the evening. They may have security concerns dealing with customers, especially during the holiday seasons where people might be arguing over the last doll on the shelf or that special body spray that they only have one left in stock.

So talk to your employees and then tell them either in a formal training. Now many employers can’t do this, but the best practice is to have a formal sit down training. It could be a PowerPoint, it could be a slide presentation that you watch online through a company, to explain what the policies and procedures are. If you have a customer who’s rude, this is the expectations. If you have a coworker come into the store and you’re working with them and they become rude, disruptive, they start harassing you, this is what we expect you to do. Short of that daily reminders by a manager, “Hey, today’s looking to be a really busy day. This weekend’s going to heat up. We just want to remind you of best practices and how we expect to handle this and what we’re going to do in response”. And just to remind them that you’re there for them.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

That’s really important, that human touch makes all the difference. And to feel like the manager’s talking to me about things that really are occurring around. I think that element of support makes all the difference. One of the things that I’m seeing myself as you know I primarily work in the labor space, and I’ve seen both an uptick in cases where the employees are so frustrated about theft. So they end up, like I had a case in a supermarket where they ended up chasing the person out with the supermarket full of steaks because they were so frustrated that this person comes in time and time again and goes out with the steaks. Where I’ve actually had other clients in a retail store where they actually engage with the customer and get into a physical fight or tackle them to the ground.

I have dozens of cases this year that I’ve seen since the pandemic and reopening, and frankly during the pandemic for some of those essential providers. And as we come out of it, I’m really seeing that. So the policies that we always have, that I see clients have is, let it go. Just if it’s happening, let it go. How do you deal with this sort of conflict between trying to keep the workplace safe, but at the same time the frustration of the employee, of the fact that de escalation is being completely taken advantage of?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Well Laura, I think that’s where that human contact and training really becomes essential with their employees. So I just want to highlight in case people don’t know, some of the really shocking statistics over the last couple of years that have happened in those types of situations that you just mentioned. So in 2019 in El Paso, Texas, there was the big box retailer shooting, which resulted in 22 fatalities. One injured for a total of 48 individuals harmed in that incident. And sometimes you look back and say, was that just somebody who walks into your store upset about something, just targeting somebody? Or maybe they don’t, right? But these are the kind of situations where when you escalate by running out with someone with the steaks, or you want to confront somebody over this, to be mindful that in 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, they had the massage parlor shootings and someone was there just performing their job, someone was upset.

And this time it was, I believe it was a domestic dispute, came in, open fired, and eight people lost their lives that day. I mean, most recently in Buffalo, New York, there was a supermarket massacre where 10 people were killed and three people were injured. And so while this is maybe not the most uplifting topic to talk about right before the holidays, I think it’s a very important reminder that we want to go home and spend the holidays with our loved ones. We want to be there to enjoy this time of year, but we’ve got to be smart about this. Employees cannot be told money’s more important than their lives. You never want to get that message across to them. So that’s why training starts with a good plan of how you’re going to handle this, the expectations, and then doing the follow through and making sure that actually they are implementing the policies and procedures and people know what they’re doing.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

And when it gets heated and the employee messes up, how do you address that?

Kristina T. Brooks:

The best way really is through, let’s take a deep breath. Maybe the plan is that there’s going to be a timeout space, a break room somewhere for people just to calm down. I know that sounds very basic, but I think in the heat of the moment when humans are in fight or flight, everybody’s going to react differently. And so the person who wants to fight, we need as employers to already have a plan in place on how to address that. So it might be talking very softly with them, calmly and practicing. Part of training could be that practice component part of, let me pretend to throw a drink in your face, and let’s walk through the different ways that we can handle this, and what is the best one that protects you, but also protects the employees around you and the other customers. Because at the end of the day, we want to limit liability, and we also want to ensure that people are safe in the workplace. That is an employer’s duty, is to ensure a safe and helpful workplace for all of their employees.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

And so one of the couple things that I would think practically is intervention. So you would have management presence to intervene when at all possible, to sort step in and take that over that difficult situation over to as much possible. And then when you have a large enough retail establishment, a lot of them have AP on staff, so let AP do their jobs. And really just, I think you said something really important, which is we want you to go home for the holidays, we want you to go back to your families. And no amount of product, merchandise, et cetera, is more important than the employee. And I think as long as we reinforce that, then I think and reinforce that good behavior and the de escalation, that makes them feel supported.

Kristina T. Brooks:

And I 100% agree with that. And Laura states have actually taken that a step farther, where they actually have tools available to an employer that may run into a situation where you have a repeat customer, like you brought up with the steak example, or maybe it’s a coworker who’s upset because they didn’t get a certain shift, and so they start harassing a coworker. States actually have, now not all states, but a majority of them have what are called workplace violence restraining orders. And so this allows the employer to apply for a temporary restraining order, which really sends a message to either this customer or this employee of, “we’re not going to tolerate this behavior. The courts are not going to allow you to behave in this manner”. And they can put restrictions on them coming to the workplace, from making phone calls to individuals. It can be a pretty effective tool in limiting this type of conduct, especially with repeat offenders.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

Absolutely, and I’m so glad that you brought that up because we are seeing a great uptick in request for those. And as you said, California is one of those states that has them, but there’s various versions. There’s peace and no trespass orders. Other states only give the right, not to the employer, but to the employee. And so one of the things that we’ve been doing in those markets is to provide assistance to the employee by helping them file that to the extent that it was a workplace incident. Obviously as employers, we don’t want to get involved in domestic disputes, but we need to keep it safe and supportive. So we’ve been talking a lot about customer conduct. What about coworker conduct? What kind of safeguards and issues are you seeing in that regard?

Kristina T. Brooks:

Laura, with regards to employee conduct, it’s going to be very similar to how you as an employer should handle customer complaints. I personally don’t look at it any differently. Bad conduct is bad conduct. But because the employer has control over their employees, I believe it puts more of an onus on them to ensure that if they get complaints about another employee harassing them or intimidating another employee, they need to have a plan of action. Many times I think people hope, and maybe because it’s more about emotions and behavior versus like, “I’m going to move a ladder and make sure we’re using the correct one”, or “I can just replace a pipe and it’s safe”. This is a little bit different of a safety and health issue. And so you have to look at the conduct and address the conduct and have procedures in place. Who can you complain to? Is it a safe person to lodge your complaint? And then how are we going to address their conduct? Are they going to be put on leave? Which can bring up for any employer other issues of am I being retaliated against? So there’s some issues that we have to work through when the employer sits down to do their plan of how are we going to keep our employees safe from each other.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

And I also see, as you know I’m a labor lawyer again, so as you see, I’m seeing unions trying to capitalize on tensions between protecting the employees and combating customer violence. So I see them, as you mentioned before, calling OSHA, lobbying for increased safety measures. And what I’m getting are these really robust, it used to be in a collective bargaining agreement, maybe you’d have a paragraph. People are coming forward with three and four page proposals with measures to protect it. And as you said, they get put on blast on social media of this incident happened and they gave him a gift card. And of course, that de escalation of trying to deal with both the customer to de escalate and for the employee in a compassionate way has a juxtaposition. But I think we have to be in a situation where we can all work together to protect the employee.

One of the things that I’ve talked clients through that would be part of that plan, is following a customer violence incident. When an employer sees that employee assaulted or threatened, they should consider things like documenting the incident in a report, preserving that video footage, preparing and following those written emergency plans, and just kind of capturing the evidence as best you can. Because if we talk about that inevitable, if we have to go the peace order or that workplace violence restraining order route, we’re going to need to prove what happened. And so it’s really important from an evidentiary practical standpoint in protecting the employee. Not only from the OSHA side of having to document it, but just from having to be prepared on the responsive side. Do you have any further thoughts in that regard?

Kristina T. Brooks:

I do. And I think that comes down to what we, in the safety world would call hazard prevention and control. So when you actually look at what are all the different hazards that are in our workplace when it comes to workplace violence, you need to ask yourself, “what do we need to do to protect folks?” So one could be, do we need to make sure that we have security guards? Do we need to make sure that if we have video cameras that they’re working? So it’s great, right to say, “yes, we need to document this”. But you actually need to ensure and go back and make sure that your systems are operational, that they’re working. Things such as like right now during the holidays, I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of families and a lot of businesses are thinking about doing holiday parties, and so there’s an increase in liquor sales.

Liquor stores at the holidays, they really need to be thinking about things such as limiting cash on site. Do you have posters in your windows? Are there poorly lit areas? And you really have to look at the type of environment that your retail location sits in. Is it a high crime area? And to enable your folks to implement quick response procedures. What do we do if someone comes in with a gun and demands us to pay? How are we going to handle that? Those are things that need to be discussed beforehand rather than get into a situation like you brought up earlier where you’re running out of the store and potentially putting yourself in harm’s way.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

So as we wrap up our conversation here, I just want to leave our retail clients with some nuggets of wisdom. If you had to boil it down to a few points, what would you say to our clients out there who want to be a topnotch employer ready for the holiday season?

Kristina T. Brooks:

The most important thing to keep your employees safe during the holiday season is strong internal policies that proactively have a plan of how you’re going to do with workplace violence, both from your customers and your internal employees. Once you have that in place, then the second most important thing is communication to your employees. They need to understand what those policies and procedures are, and they really need to have an understanding of how they’re going to be implemented. Walk them through it, give some examples of, if this happens with a customer, this is how you handle it. If this is what happens with an employee, this is how we handle it. And tell them how you’re as an employer are going to respond. It’s going to limit the amount of calls to OSHA, it’s going to limit the ability of the union to say that you don’t put their employees safety first, and it’s going to give them a sense of empowerment that when they’re in that situation, they know what to do.

My example always is, when you get on an airplane, and even though we have maybe flown 1000 times for business, we watch the same safety demonstration at the beginning of every single flight. As an adult, I know how to put on my seatbelt, I can figure out where the exits are, but I always stop and remind myself, and I think it applies to the holiday season and our retailers, that this is critical for them to make sure that people understand how to handle these very intense situations that can arise and unfortunately have resulted in loss of life and injury. And really the third thing is, and the best nugget is support your folks. Support your employees and make sure that they go home, that is your duty as an employer. And while, yes, we’ve been talking about that the customer is always right. Your duty, first and foremost is to your employees. That is the mandate from OSHA and from other agencies that they need to be in a safe and helpful environment. And it is your responsibility to ensure that that occurs, it is not on the employee to ensure that occurs.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

And it’s just the right thing to do, right? It’s the culture. You want to go back to your basic tenants and what your mission statement is, and just remember, we want to be an employer of choice. We want to be that for our customers. We want to be that, especially for our employees. And as you said, we want everyone to go home safe and enjoy a happy holiday. So thank you so much for your time, Kristina. I really enjoyed this chat and I look forward to talking next time.

Kristina T. Brooks:

Thank you, Laura. I’ve really enjoyed this. Have a happy holiday season.

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg:

Likewise.

Alitia Faccone:

Thank you for joining us on We get work. Please tune into our next program where we will continue to tell you not only what’s legal, but what is effective. We get work is available to stream and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Libsyn, Pandora, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. For more information on today’s topic, our presenters and other Jackson Lewis resources, visit jacksonlewis.com. As a reminder, this material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient.

 

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Target Of Workplace Violence TRO Was Entitled To Cross Examine Witnesses – California Employment Law Update

CSV Hospitality Mgmt. LLC v. Lucas, 84 Cal. App. 5th 117 (2022)

CSV Hospitality Management LLC obtained a restraining order under the Workplace Violence Safety Act against Jermorio Lucas who was living at the Aranda Residence, a residential hotel that provides supportive housing to formerly homeless individuals.  In support of its petition against Lucas, CSV submitted affidavits from four of its employees establishing that Lucas had been “very aggressive and confrontational” towards other tenants and Aranda Residence employees.  Among other things, Lucas verbally abused employees while they were working, stalked them, took photos and videos of them without their consent, and even forcefully pushed one of the employees into a window.  The trial court granted a temporary restraining order against Lucas and set the matter for an evidentiary hearing.  The trial judge denied Lucas’s counsel’s request to cross examine CSV’s witnesses and ordered Lucas to refrain from harassing, threatening, following or contacting CSV’s employees and Lucas was forbidden from possessing a firearm.  The Court of Appeal reversed the workplace violence restraining order due to the denial of Lucas’s due process right to cross examine one of CSV’s witnesses.

Tags: California Court of Appeal, Due Process, workplace violence

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: These 16 days we say stop third-party violence! – UNI Global Union |

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November marks the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This year, UNI Global Union through its UNI Equal Opportunities department is raising awareness of third-party violence and what needs to be done to stop it.

Third-party violence is violence carried out by customers, clients, patients and their family members, and can affect workers in all sectors.

The toll on workers from third-party violence and harassment is staggering. From absenteeism to high employee turnover, from loss of productivity and income; to losing work and long-term psychological effects. In the United States economic losses from workplace violence are estimated to  amount to more than US$120 billion as a result  of legal services, medical care, recovery costs and so on.

In commerce, 9 out of 10 retail workers have experienced some form of violence, whilst in call centres, workers experience everyday abuse from callers.

“I was personally threatened with rape, being shot /stabbed, and with incredibly explicit sexual and violent language. This wasn’t the first time it had happened. It has been ongoing over 18 months,” said an anonymous call centre worker in the UK.

UNI Equal Opportunities has produced a social media tool kit and a poster for affiliates to use during the 16 days, which run from 25 November until 10 December.

We encourage our affiliates to use this material, share it and continue to fight for the ratification of the ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 to eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work, and also include the standards’ language and clauses in their own policies and collective agreements.

Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of UNI Equal Opportunities, says:

“Third-party violence affects us all. Workers, employers, nations. The emotional and mental impact of workplace violence cannot be quantified. At the very least, workers must feel safe at work. It is time for trade unions to act, it is time to work together by establishing stronger policies and agreements that enshrine the spirit of ILO Convention 190. Because it can change lives!”

Download the files here: 

 UNI 16 days of activism – 2022

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Baby, It’s Still Covid Outside: Workplace Holiday Party Tips As We Move Out Of The Pandemic – – Canada – Mondaq

Canada:

Baby, It’s Still Covid Outside: Workplace Holiday Party Tips As We Move Out Of The Pandemic

25 November 2022

CCPartners

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As we continue to return to in-person meetings and events,
workplaces can once again look forward to hosting and attending
in-person holiday parties. While it is exciting to resume
“normal” social functions and traditions, we take this
time to remind employers about their liability towards their party
guests – whether or not they are employees. Employers may be
held either fully or partially liable for claims arising from
guests who are permitted to excessively drink or indulge in
legalized drugs at a work-related function, including social host
liability for any accidents that may take place as well as claims
of harassment and/or discrimination. Both Human Rights and
Occupational Health and Safetylegislation in most jurisdictions in
Canadacreate statutory obligations on employers to provide a safe
workplace free of harassment. That obligation extends to workplace
functions including holiday parties. This means that if a guest
drinks too much and makes a poor decision, such as driving under
the influence or engaging in inappropriate behavior that amounts to
sexual or other harassment, the employer could be responsible for
any damages or injury done to the employees or other innocent third
parties.

With the pandemic still lingering, it may be best for employers
to continue to host their holiday events virtually. A virtual event
is the lowest-risk option for employers and attendees. Virtual
events eliminate the risk of any guest contracting COVID-19 or
other viruses that continue to create a strain on our health care
system. As well, employer liability is greatly reduced since
employees will not need to travel home from the party and will be
physically barred from engaging with one another. For a virtual
party, employers can plan out virtual activities for attendees such
as trivia, recorded messages by senior management or virtually
engaging in an activity together such as a cooking class.

Some employers may still choose to host an in-person holiday
event. In doing so, it’s important for employers to recognize
their responsibility and control their exposures to risk during the
holiday season. CCPartners has compiled a list of suggested
“best practices” to assist your organization in planning
and hosting a safe and inclusive holiday event:

  1. Hold an alcohol-free and cannabis-free event. This is a
    low-risk option for employers. Event planners should check with the
    event facility to see what their policies on cannabis use are in
    advance of the party. But don’t forget that cannabis comes in
    many forms so consideration will need to be given to whether you
    allow your guests to consume any form of cannabis on site.
  2. If you decide to provide alcohol at the event, have a cash bar,
    hire licensed bartenders, and speak to employees before the event
    about the risks of over-drinking.
  3. If you allow cannabis products to be available, make sure you
    have a means of controlling consumption in the same manner as
    alcohol and only provide products from a legal dispensary.
  4. Employees should also be reminded that this is a workplace
    function and they are expected to behave in a way that is not
    harassing, discriminatory, intimidating or otherwise inappropriate,
    and that your workplace violence and harassment policies apply to
    the holiday party.
  5. Consider distributing your workplace harassment policy to all
    guests in advance and have them sign off that they have read and
    understood same.
  6. Do not have any games or decoration that could lead to
    inappropriate behaviors (ex. hanging mistletoe).
  7. Holding a morning (brunch) event rather than an evening event
    where alcohol is served may reduce the consumption of alcohol.
  8. Provide non-alcoholic drinks as an option.
  9. Avoid serving alcohol and allowing consumption of cannabis if
    your event includes physical activities.
  10. Have plenty of food available throughout the party, and
    accommodate diverse palates including for those with food allergies
    or sensitivities.
  11. Provide alternative transportation for employees (i.e. taxi
    chits or Uber reimbursement). Encourage employees before the event
    to leave their vehicles at home and take advantage of the
    alternative transportation you are providing to get to and from the
    event.
  12. Arrange for a nearby hotel to have rooms available for
    employees who are unable to get home.
  13. Stop serving alcohol and making cannabis products available at
    least an hour before the party is over.
  14. Event organizers should have some training or otherwise inform
    themselves on detecting intoxication from alcohol and
    cannabis.
  15. Be respectful of the different cultural and belief systems
    among your employees when planning your event. Make sure the date
    of your event, your menu and activities reflect your
    workforce’s religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity.
  16. Where your workforce is culturally diverse, consider creating a
    holiday planning committee of representative employees to plan your
    event, and plan your event around the many religious holidays being
    celebrated around this time.
  17. Consider inviting your employees’ family to accommodate
    those who may be unable to leave young children at home.
  18. Allow employees to opt out of your holiday event without a
    consequence or negative connotation.
  19. Make sure the venue is accessible to those attending your
    event.
  20. Consider creating an electronic-free event, where use of cell
    phones and other mobile/recording devices are limited. This will
    help to ensure that your event and your employees don’t end up
    on social media.

These tips can help employers reduce the likelihood that the
most wonderful time of the year isn’t tarnished by human rights
complaints, harassment allegations, or even civil claims for
“social host negligence” if an unfortunate/intoxicated or
high employee ends up being seriously injured after leaving your
event.

Wishing you and your employees a safe and festive Holiday
Season.

For even more Holiday Party tips and information, listen
to Episode
3
 of the Lawyers for Employers podcast on
SoundCloud or iTunes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Cannabis & Hemp from Canada

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Paraguay Launches Visible Violence Campaign This November 25 | News – teleSUR English

The initiative came from the country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs this November 25 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

RELATED:
Paraguay: Full Coverage of Comm. In Indigenous Peoples Census

“Violence against women is a serious global and local problem. The emphasis of this year’s strategy is on detecting these moments at an early stage,” said Celina Lezcano, Minister of  Women’s Affairs, who opened the meeting. 

The main objective of the Visible Violence Campaign is to make it known that “violence against women exists, but we do not always see it, there are hundreds of situations that are happening right now, and we do not perceive them.”

“As a society, we must stop normalizing everyday situations and work on prevention to contribute to the reduction of extreme cases of femicides,” said Lezcano, raising concerns about the increase in gender-based violence in the country.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs held the launch of the Visible Violence Campaign, to unite voices to raise awareness and sensitize about the situations of violence suffered by women and girls throughout the country.  

The first Survey on the Situation of Women in Paraguay (Ensimup) was also presented. The national director of the National Statistics Institute (INE), Iván Ojeda, said that the Survey covers “physical violence, sexual violence, psychological or emotional violence and workplace violence.”

In Paraguay, an unprecedented achievement was reached, said the INE Director, acknowledging ”the first official survey on violence against women, with a national scope.”

“Today, the country has more information to fight for eliminating violence against women,” INE said on its official Twitter account.

Also, on occasion, an Act of Commitment of Authorities for the Application of Law 5777/16 was signed.

The law provides that “Violence against women is understood as any conduct that causes death, physical, sexual, psychological, patrimonial or economic harm or suffering to women, based on their condition as women, in any sphere, which is exercised within the framework of unequal and discriminatory power relations.”

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Workplace violence against women significantly impact lives, seminar told – DAWN.com

KARACHI: Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) organised a women workers convention on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday.

The women workers demanded formulation of anti-harassment committees in all workplaces to stop violence against women at work.

Zehra Khan of HBWWF said that the UN General Assembly proclaimed this day as International Day for violence against women in 1999.

“The day is commemorated in honour of three revolutionary sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, who fought against the notorious Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930-61).

International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women observed

“The Mirabal sisters and their husbands were imprisoned and tortured for taking a stand but they refused to give in and devoted their lives to secure their country’s freedom and democratic order. These three sisters are revered as unforgettable Butterfly Sisters. They were later also honoured as women’s rights icons,” said Zehra Khan.

She added that persistent violence against women had a significant impact on the lives of working women everywhere. “In Pakistan, especially, violence against women is a violation of human rights and a barrier to gender equality. A major concern for trade unions is workplace violence against women, which has an impact on employees; rights, safety, health, and dignity. In order to avoid all forms of violence against women, unions should prioritise addressing these issues both inside and outside of the union,” she said.

She also said that the anti-harassment law passed in 2010 in Pakistan must be properly implemented in order to stop impunity of those who commit acts of violence. Trade unions must also provide safe venues for women to report harassment situations and remove any barriers to their speaking out, such as shame or fear.

Christina Oliver, Assistance General Secretary of Industrial Global Union, also sent a message on the occasion. “As we commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the IndustriALL Global Union joins hands with our sisters and brothers in remembering the Butterfly Sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, who were brutally killed on this day in 1960 by the dictatorial regime of Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.

“Their bravery to fight a corrupt and violent dictator will never be forgotten, nor will their deaths be in vain. Their revolutionary spirits will live on forever in our hearts and minds,” read her message.

Nasir Mansoor of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) said that given the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame that surround it, violence against women and girls (VAWG) was one of the most pervasive, ongoing, and terrible human rights violations in this age. He added that a global movement for the prevention and reaction of violence against women and girls was ignited by the #MeToo movement five years ago. “Against this backdrop, ILO Convention 190 (ILO C190) and Recommendation 206’s adoption in 2019 has created an incredible momentum for the prevention and eradication of gender-based violence in the workplace,” he said.

Saeed Baloch of Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (PFF) said that the trade unions were fighting for the ratification and application of the Convention in several countries in collaboration with feminist and other human rights organisations.

He added that ILO C190 had been ratified by 22 nations, 13 of which had done so recently. Ratification of C190 is increasing fast and it is also assumed that 50 more countries will have ratified this agreement by 2030.

Saira Feroz of United HB Workers Union said that the HBWWF actively took part in the campaigns and movements that resulted in this ratification in Pakistan. “Parallel to this, the HBWWF has been organising campaigns, engaging in collective bargaining, creating awareness and educating the public on the need to adopt these tools in the workplace.”

The speakers called for an end to all laws that discriminate against women. They demanded an end to workplace harassment of women and the formation of anti-harassment committees in every business.

They also demanded an end to wage disparities based on gender. They were of the view that Pakistan government should ratify the ILO Convention 190, encourage employers to create policies to end all forms of violence against women in their workplaces and throughout their entire supply chains along with setting up mechanisms for women employees to file complaints and have those complaints resolved.

Others who spoken on the occasion were Parveen Bano of HBWs, Abdul Hai Baloch of HRCP and Shakeela Asghar, a factory worker.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

Source: Ross Arrowsmith