Lawyer course

Lawyer and charity team up to help improve retailers’ response to staff abuse

The Retailers Against Harassment certification was produced by Foot Anstey and the Retail Trust, with several well-known retailers already in talks to join the scheme.

The move follows research by Foot Anstey which found that 61% of shop workers have experienced offensive behavior at work since the pandemic, causing stress, anxiety and loss of self-esteem.

However, only 15% of retailers told the Retail Trust that they had raised awareness or implemented training to deal with the issue.

Achieving certification will be based on the retailers’ policies and procedures in place to deal with staff harassment, commitment to addressing the issue, how complaints are handled, and staff experiences.

The creation of the certification follows the British Retail Consortium’s open letter to the Prime Minister in July 2021 calling for greater legal protection for retail workers, which was signed by leaders of 100 retailers.

New Scottish legislation that makes it a criminal offense to assault, abuse or threaten retail staff has yet to be introduced in the rest of the UK.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Violence towards shop workers remains a major problem facing the industry.

“We welcome any initiatives to support colleagues and help retailers protect their workers.

“Similarly, we welcome new ways to assess the effectiveness of the measures currently in place to protect colleagues.”

Nathan Peacey, Head of Retail and Consumer Affairs at Foot Anstey, said: “Our research into harassment in retail has presented some alarming results and has left us wondering what more could be done to protect this group of key workers and help create safer work environments for retail workers. .

“Responsible merchants are already aware of the problem and working hard to address it, and this certification is an opportunity to measure the effectiveness of their actions and show their teams that they take this problem seriously.

“The program will help retailers build on their current approach using our insight and legal know-how, as well as Retail Trust’s 190 years of industry experience.”