Bosses Urged To Protect Employees As Gaza Crisis Deepens
As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East over Gaza and disorder and uncertainty gets closer to home, an HR expert has pleaded with UK SMEs and employers to ensure they consider the impact of the conflict on their employees. As twice published author and founder of DOHR, Donna Obstfeld explains:
"The UK has wonderfully diverse workplaces but right now, tensions are high and people on both sides of the situation are incredibly worried."
‘It is critical to remember that as a UK employer, you have a number of legal responsibilities and these should be delivered with communication, understanding and support for all of your employees, regardless of their religion, lack of religion, or political views.’
Donna’s comments come as Suella Braverman was sacked by prime minister Rishi Sunak following a controversial article on the Met Police, which some have suggested stoked further disorder in the capital over the weekend.
"This is a really difficult time and opinions will be voiced by a wide range of people as we have seen in Whitehall over the last few weeks. However, politics aside, employers must keep in mind that they have a duty to protect their staff and to create an environment which is safe both physically and psychologically."
"I am getting a lot of messages from employers who aren’t sure how best to handle the situation which is perfectly understandable. The first thing is to speak to your staff and ensure that they know you care about each of them personally."
‘If they are personally impacted through family and friends, ask them what support they need from the business. Be flexible and creative if necessary. Make sure your managers are aligned with your approach."
"You then need to balance the freedom of speech and freedom of belief with the right not to be bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work based on beliefs, religion or nationality."
"I urge you to use your disciplinary policy and processes with extreme caution. If an employee physically attacks another employee, then this is far more clear-cut than expressed feelings or beliefs."
"Finally, try to bring people together. Find ways to focus on shared beliefs and values. Find ways to support each other. Share food together. Friendship must be stronger than hatred and you need your team to work together."