Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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harassing behavior. Create a culture where all employees are invested in maintaining a workplace climate that is free from discrimination. • Model good behavior and require that leadership at all levels exemplifi es a culture that is inclusive and values employees. Al- though leadership and accountability start with the café owner, midlevel managers and direct supervisors are key elements in establishing and enforcing acceptable behavior at work. "Owners and managers must move beyond compliance," Angela continues. "If you simply comply with federal law and relevant state law, you're missing the point. Your productivity and viability will in- crease if you move beyond mere compliance and create a culture that is safe for all employees to thrive…move beyond being reactive, and start being proactive in addressing your own workplace culture." A generic sexual-harassment policy isn't hard to create. Many com- panies will draft one with the help of an attorney, which can serve as a "catch-all" policy to include in handbooks and manuals. At Café Cesura in Bellevue, Wash., owner Shawn Nickerson says he uses a standard policy he got from a lawyer friend. The policy prohibits sex- ual-harassment, which it defi nes as "any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor(s), or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature," and it "applies equally to men and women." The defi nition of sexual-harassment is further explained and outlined with a few examples. The language of the policy, which is about three paragraphs long, is written in easy-to-understand, albeit lawyer-y, language, and encourages those who feel that they have been the victims of harassment to report it to Café Cesura's human resources depart- ment. The policy is clear that employees who report harassment will not face ramifi cations like losing their job. It's the type of policy that most companies have or should have, and which many employees have probably skimmed over during their orientation. "One of the most important points to drive home is that em- ployees who make complaints or who support complaints will be protected against retaliation," says Saundra Simes, a labor and employment attorney in Southern California. "They must be confi - dent that the employer will be decisive when harassment occurs and issue proportionate corrective action when behaviors that don't contribute to an inclusive culture at work are discovered." Working with a lawyer to draft a straightforward policy is one op- tion for café owners. There are other resources available, however, that provide additional framework, such as those from the American Barista & Coffee School (ABCS) in Portland, Ore. The school pro- vides classes, business strategies, and policy templates to groups and individuals who are interested in opening their own special- ty-coffee businesses. The templates, which include an operations manual, a presentation business plan, and an employee handbook that incorporates a sexual-harassment policy, can be customized to suit the needs of the customer. Specifi cally, it's the "Standards of Conduct" section of this boilerplate employee handbook that comprises a harassment and discrimination policy, making it simple for ABCS students to tailor the documents to include their business name and company details. It's a point of pride for Matt Milletto, VP of ABCS, who says a lot of work and time went into drafting the policy to specifi cally apply to the coffee business and/or coffee retail segment. Matt also serves as president of the Oregon Coffee Board, and as such implemented a discrimination and harassment policy. The nonprofi t organization that serves as a support and resource for independent coffee businesses in Oregon offers a very detailed and somewhat lengthy policy to which all board members are required to adhere. As we worked on this story and researched coffee-specifi c admin- "EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SEXUAL-HARASSMENT POLICY IN PLACE, ARE YOU SURE YOUR EMPLOYEES FEEL COMFORTABLE REPORTING ABUSE?" —ANGELA MARTIN, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN 83

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