Recently, WorldSafe had the opportunity to converse with John Bolesta and Shawn Fabian, two leading attorneys who bring significant insights into the evolving landscape of employee safety and support in the hospitality industry. That discussion was turned into our first ever podcast episode, which you can listen to now!
The discussion began with a deep dive into the world of labor relations. "I regularly counsel hospitality clients not only in the transactional arena," said Bolesta, "but also in providing pre-litigation advice on how to comply with the Act and strategies to avoid potential union issues." This point was emphasized throughout the conversation, highlighting the proactive approach needed to maintain a supportive environment and bridge the common disconnect between frontline employees and employers.
A major shift in the hospitality industry's perspective on safety occurred during the MeToo movement. As Bolesta pointed out, "this really did come about when people started listening more during the MeToo movement." The heightened awareness in this period underscored the importance of safety, leading to initiatives like the AHLA's "Five Star Promise," aimed at enhancing safety and security for hotel employees and guests.
Discussing the practical implementation of safety measures, the conversation focused on the need for effective safety devices. "Employers may decide to go with a cheaper option that maybe just provides for a loud noise," cautioned Bolesta. "But if you don't have the staff that can respond in a timely manner, you're probably going to be creating a bigger liability and a bigger issue with your employees in terms of morale and potentially union involvement down the road."
Despite the potential issues with safety device legislation, it was highlighted that proactive measures to enhance worker safety can positively impact unionization efforts. "The connection between the employees and the employer is a heck of a lot stronger," Bolesta stated, "and the likelihood that a unionization effort will occur goes down by virtue of them actually implementing these measures on their own versus being forced to do so in response to a local or state law."
Training also played a central role in the conversation. According to Bolesta, it is crucial for employees to know how to use safety devices effectively. In addition, "the feedback that you'll receive from them could be feedback that you wouldn't normally otherwise receive." Thus, engaging employees in the training process can lead to insights that improve safety measures.
This conversation underscored the importance of a pragmatic approach to implementing workplace safety measures. "You need to be very in tune with the needs and, quite frankly, the limitations of a particular location or facility that you may have," advised Bolesta. "You need to be practical and test it out."
Navigating the complexities of safety and labor relations in the hospitality industry can be challenging. However, with informed insights like these from experts such as John Bolesta and Shawn Fabian, industry players are better equipped to ensure the safety and support of their employees in these evolving times.
From addressing common misconceptions to unpacking little-known regulations, this episode serves as an essential guide for any hotel manager aiming to maintain a safe, lawful work environment. Our conversation not only touches on legal perspectives but also explores the human aspect of these laws - how they impact the daily lives of employees, and why managers should care.Listen Now