Michelin condemns harassment in hospitality

20 July 2021 by
Michelin condemns harassment in hospitality

The Michelin Group has condemned all acts of aggression and harassment "in the kitchen or outside it" for damaging "people's lives, the entire profession and its image".

However, it stopped short of saying that it would remove accolades from businesses where abuse is proven despite calls for the association to take a firmer stance on abuse in the industry.

A statement from the group said: "One of the Michelin Group's five core values is respect for people, and we take that very seriously. We firmly condemn all acts of aggression and harassment in the kitchen or outside it, which damage people's lives, the entire profession and its image.

"The Michelin star is awarded for the quality and consistency of the food offered to customers. That is where our independent expertise lies. Our core focus and the way we work, based on anonymous visits as a normal diner, do not allow us to form a view of the culture and human resources approach of thousands of individual businesses. As such we must assume innocence until proven otherwise by legal authorities."

Removing awards from hospitality businesses where abuse is proven would have a "seismic impact" on working conditions in the sector, Brian McElderry of union Unichef has said. He added that he was not asking associations such as Michelin and the AA to police the industry and behaviour in kitchens, but to have an ethical element to their accreditation.

The call followed recent accusations of bullying and harassment within the Kitchin Group, which have seen two members of staff suspended. Allegations of a "culture of fear" have also been levelled at brewer and pub group BrewDog.

Owner of Darjeeling Express restaurant in London Asma Khan has backed the calls for Michelin to strip restaurants of their stars should they be proven to be abusive working environments.

Speaking on the BBC's Business Daily in response to Michelin's statement, she said: "I would have been so much happier to have seen a more humane response to what is clearly evidence of a lot of people suffering in the kitchen. History is witness to the fact that, when people really want to stop terrible things happening to people, that they will find a way.

"Michelin is a great organisation, it has a great legacy, it has also some responsibility. I am confident there are very many compassionate people in Michelin who will find the time and find a way of actually incorporating a way of checking how people are treated in these kitchens."

Photo: Shutterstock / sylv1rob1

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