While whistleblowers should be celebrated, many not only fear, but experience whistleblower retaliation in restaurants. It’s a practice that can ruin a great restaurant and hurt an employee’s future.
The good news is there are ways to be put a stop to retaliation in your restaurant. By doing this, you encourage a more ethical restaurant, happier employees and likely save money at the same time.
Make Whistleblower Retaliation Against Your Rules
If employees, including management, know that whistleblower retaliation in restaurants is against the rules, they’re less likely to try it. Make it clear what the consequences are if this happens. It could be reduced hours, being ineligible for raises or promotion for a set period or even termination. This also helps reduce the chance of ethical incidents to begin with as no one wants to be reported and risk the temptation of retaliating against a whistleblower.
Encourage Employees To Report Retaliation
When a whistleblower comes forward, they should know they have the support of their co-workers behind them. Not only can this help during an investigation, but it helps stop whistleblower retaliation in restaurants. Instead of having to deal with one person’s word against another, getting several reports from different employees about instances of retaliation helps you to prove that it’s actually happening.
This also helps reduce retaliation by preventing intimidation. While the culprit might intimidate the whistleblower, they won’t be able to intimidate all the other employees who might witness what’s going on. This is especially important when someone is reporting a manager.
Train In How To Collect Proof
Once employees know that your restaurant’s policies support whistleblowers, you have one more task – training. Not only do you need to train employees on how to report unethical practices, but how to collect proof. For instance, give employees examples of retaliation. This could be a sudden cut in hours just a few days or a week after action is taken in relation to their report. Or, maybe promotions always go to the waitstaff with the most seniority, but they were passed over without reason. This could also include collecting emails and ensuring other employees are around for conversations.
By helping employees gather proof, you’re able to effectively handle retaliation quickly. This also prevents long investigations.
Watch For Signs Of Retaliation
Anyone who investigated the original report and acted upon it should also watch for any signs of retaliation. It’s important to do this for several months. Signs could include reduced hours, the employee suddenly calling out frequently, problems with staff getting along, the whistleblower suddenly quitting or the whistleblower requesting shifts away from specific people (remember, retaliation doesn’t always come from the culprit).
Noticing the signs is critical to stopping whistleblower retaliation in restaurants. You can also train employees to watch for this.
Implement A Whistleblower Hotline
A whistleblower hotline not only makes it easier for employees to report ethical issues to begin with, it also makes it easier to stop retaliation. A large part of this is anonymity. When reports are anonymous, it’s more difficult for anyone to know who filed the report. Plus, employees are more likely to report ethical problems and retaliation with an easy to use whistleblower hotline.