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Bullying is number one reason hospitality staff seek online help

03 February 2016 by
Bullying is number one reason hospitality staff seek online help

Bullying and harassment at work is the number one reason why visitors to Hospitality Action's (HA) website consult its online help sheets, the industry charity has revealed, followed by low mood and depression, and problems with alcohol.

Almost one in five (17%) of the visits to the charity's online help fact sheets were about bullying, followed by 8% for depression and 5% alcohol. The fact sheets cover many potential issues at work as part of the charity's Employee Assistance Programme, including issues on health, career, family, relationships, drugs abuse, and money.

The figures come as the charity also revealed that the amount of face-to-face counselling among eligible employees had risen by a third (33%) in 2015, compared to 2014. HA also saw calls to its managerial helpline double in 2015 compared to 2014.

Of those who actually go beyond the fact sheets to contact the charity applying for help, a third (35%) did so because of a life changing illness, while 32% did so because they were living in poverty.

The statistics were released in the wake of the shock death of 44-year-old Switzerland-based "world's best chef" Benoît Violier, announced on Tuesday 2 February. The French-born Swiss national was head chef at the three Michelin-starred l'Hotel de Ville at Crissier near Lausanne in Switzerland, which was named the best restaurant in the world by French government league table "La Liste".

Survived by his wife Brigitte and children, the chef was reported to have committed suicide by shooting himself at home, despite many colleagues, friends and family stating after his death that he had shown no signs of wanting to end his life. The news of his passing came just hours before the Michelin Guide France revealed its new stars for 2016. His death also came just six months after that of mentor Philippe Rochat, who died following a cycling accident, and bears similarities to the death of chef Bernard Loiseau, in 2003.

Commenting on the charity's new figures, Penny Moore, chief executive at Hospitality Action explained that last year had seen the charity help a record number of people and spend £632,000 on financial assistance in 2015, marking a 6% increase on 2014's spend of £595,000.

She said: "Long hours and a demanding work schedule is a very real problem that afflicts the hospitality industry and puts great stress on its employees. When you add in personal pressures such as depression, addiction, stress, illness, or financial strain, these pressures can escalate and can have a major impact on people's lives."

Moore added: "We urge you to contact us immediately if you or your employees need support."

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