The rise in incidents of violence against frontline workers in British Columbia and other provinces is a matter of concern. A recent incident at a McDonald’s location was reportedly not the workers’ first exposure to violence. Staff at the branch said it was not an isolated incident but rather that they experience the wrath of customers almost every day.
Details of this incident
Richmond RCMP reported the arrest of a 30-year-old man who allegedly assaulted two employees and a couple of police officers. A video posted on social media shows the actions of a dissatisfied McDonald’s customer who lashed out at employees to show his unhappiness with the service provided. It shows the customer picking up a garbage can and throwing it at staff before violently smashing cash registers and displays off the counter. The voices of staff members asking him to stop can be heard in the video.
The need to keep workers safe
A spokesperson for the B.C. Federation of Labour responding to the incident noted that violence against workers is often aimed at members of vulnerable communities. She also underscored the importance of the responsibility of employers to provide safe work environments and protect the health and safety of workers.
Workplaces with known risks of violence are required to implement safety measures, which could include installing physical barriers to protect employees or providing employees with panic buttons monitored by security personnel. Workers must receive safety training to learn how to deal with such situations. Psychological trauma and physical injuries caused by exposure to workplace violence can have long-term consequences.
Employees have a right to personal safety and security at work. Employees who have suffered physical injuries or psychological trauma due to workplace violence, or employers who are concerned about the risk of workplace violence, should consider consulting with an experienced employment lawyer.