Shoppers urged to show respect to retail workers ahead of Easter rush

The NSW Government is reminding consumers to behave respectfully towards retail workers as shoppers and retailers prepare for the rush ahead of stores closing on Good Friday (March 29).

A 2023 survey of more than 4600 retail workers reported that 87% of workers experienced verbal abuse from a customer, 12.5% reported physical violence, and 52% reported they had the same customer act abusive or violent on more than one occasion.

Workplace violence can be via a threat or action which causes either physical or psychological harm or injury.

In the retail industry workplace, this includes intimidating behaviour, which creates a fear of violence, such as verbal threats, throwing objects or shoving, spitting or other physical contact.

Retailers should have systems and policies in place to help staff respond when faced with customer violence and aggression.

SafeWork NSW is continuing to respond to an incident on February 18 where a 64-year-old worker was allegedly assaulted at a supermarket in Western Sydney. While NSW Police are investigating matters related to alleged criminal conduct, SafeWork NSW are reviewing the incident to see if there are breaches of WHS laws.

Tougher penalties for assaulting retail workers were introduced by the NSW Government last year with some offences receiving a maximum penalty of 11 years.


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