Human Rights

Human Rights

Dignity, Transparency and Trust

For all companies, “respecting human rights” means that the company establishes a management system through which the company is able to document that it has addressed the risk of adverse impacts on people’s dignity. Concretely, this means that the company regularly assesses which adverse impacts it has and potentially may have on people’s human rights. All companies have some adverse impacts on people’s human rights.

The company becomes transparent regarding how it impacts all the basic elements of human dignity. The way to establish the management system is well-defined through the UN Guidelines for Human Rights and Business (UNGPs).

When the company is transparent about its risks of adverse impacts and how it manages them, it increases its credibility among employees, guests, suppliers, and other collaborators. The actions are clearly visible, and become a strong testament to the company doing what it says it is going to do.

Every company must take measures to address its potential adverse impacts on all 48 human rights. There will be no risk of adverse impacts on some of the human rights, but most companies will identify the risk of adverse impacts on approximately 20 human rights.

In the next section there are some examples of adverse impacts and how they should be dealt with. The examples are drawn from widely recognized challenges within the industry. Good practices in dealing with those challenges are outlined, which will result in the prevention and mitigation of the adverse impacts on people’s human rights.

1

Every company must address the right not to be discriminated against. This means that the company will work hard to ensure that no employees are discriminated against based on, among other things, skin colour, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion or political conviction. An employer may ask employees if they have experienced discrimination personally or against others in an employee satisfaction questionnaire, and there may be a written report and a discussion on how both employees and employers can ensure that there is no discrimination in the workplace.

2

The right not to be discriminated against also concerns the guests. The company must ensure that no guest is discriminated against based on, among other things, skin colour, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion or political conviction. A restaurant can prevent this by training their staff in understanding and managing prejudices and making space for diversity. The company could also take measure to ensure that guests are not discriminated against by other guests while at their restaurant.

3

The right to a safe and healthy working environment requires that the company continuously work to improve the working environment in order to minimize the risk of accidents or stress at work. In other words, employers must continuously seek to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts on the right to a safe and healthy working environment. This could mean for example ensuring adequate training in the use of various kitchen utensils, or improving the layout of the kitchen, restaurant and bar in order to reduce the risk of accident.

4

Employees in the restaurant industry often get very busy when they are at work, and sometimes they work many hours and many days in a row. In order to ensure respect for their right to rest and leisure, every employer must address how the company will prevent or mitigate overtime. In addition to honouring the agreed working hours, the employer could, for example, prepare the employees work schedule two to three weeks before the shifts, so that the employee knows his shifts and working hours in advance. The employer could also ensure that the number of casual staff is large enough for there not to be too many unpredictable shifts. If an employee has a lot of overtime and wants to have more free time between shifts, the employee can ask his employer to take this under advisement. Most often, the employer can arrange for employees to have days off between shifts or compensate for the overtime by other means.

5

The company must also address employees’ right to form or participate in a trade union. Employees may, for example, choose whether they want to be a member of a trade union or not, and they must be free to choose which trade union they want to be a member of. The employer should not seek to prevent this, and others – for instance colleagues and trade unions – should not push anyone into becoming a member.

The right to form or participate in a trade union also means that the employer has the possibility to choose whether the company should sign an agreement with a trade union and with which trade union, even if the majority of their employees are members of another trade union. The employer has committed to take an active part in all areas that concern trade unions and more.

6

The right to work includes, among other things, the company ensuring that an employee does not run the risk of not having a contract before the first shift. The employment contract should clarify the employment relationship, for instance, the probation period, the salary, the working hours and the notice period. A focus on the right to work can result in improvements being made to employment contracts so that it contains the most important information about the employment relationship.

As part of the efforts regarding the right to work, an employer may also look at the employee’s ability to engage in professional training and at the opportunities they have to upgrade their skills. One possibility, for instance, could be that both new and old employees are continuously given the opportunity to participate in training courses that will ensure they have the knowledge needed to carry out their professional duties. Another possibility could be that full-time employees with a couple of years of history in the company could participate in vocationally relevant courses that will upgrade their skills and position.

7

The right to social security and social insurance demands that the employer relate, among other things, to the employee’s pension scheme and health insurance. Employers may choose not to pay pension contributions, and that is alright, however, the employer must be transparent about it. Respect for the right to social security and social insurance may lead to talks about possible pension savings with the company.

The right to adequate nutrition requires that the company relate, among other things, to the guests' ability to remove or add ingredients to their meal for religious reasons or because of food allergies and intolerances.

The right to adequate nutrition requires that the company relate, among other things, to the guests’ ability to remove or add ingredients to their meal for religious reasons or because of food allergies and intolerances.

9

The company must also address the guests’ right to health. The business site is already monitored by the authorities using the smiley scheme, so guests and employees can quickly find out about the restaurant’s ability to handle potential adverse impacts on the right to health. Many restaurants will choose to do more and, for example, describe on their website, or as an introduction to the menu, how they ensures that the drinks and food served are of a high quality so that guests do not experience adverse impacts on the right to health as a result of a visit to the restaurant.

Human Rights

Corporate social sustainability includes respect for human rights. Read more about what this means for the restaurant industry.

Environment

Environmental sustainability is about reducing our impact on the environment and the climate. Read more about what this means for the restaurant industry.

Anti-corruption

Economic sustainability also includes a focus on fair trade. Read more about what this means for the restaurant industry.