Beaten shop worker lost unborn baby
A shop worker lost her unborn baby when she was beaten up by a customer, MLAs have heard.
That and other incidents of violence against staff in businesses across Northern Ireland were outlined as members were urged to back the Freedom from Fear campaign to protect employees ahead of the frantic Christmas shopping period.
The Employment and Learning committee proposed the motion on the back of a briefing from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).
"Members were greatly moved to hear of a young woman who worked in a shop and who was beaten up by a violent customer," SDLP committee chairwoman Dolores Kelly told the Assembly.
"That young woman did not know she was pregnant at the time and subsequently lost her baby.
"The committee heard of a number of incidents where shop workers were abused verbally, spat on and in some cases beaten up because they were not able to serve customers, often because the customer was not old enough to buy alcohol and was refused service."
Mrs Kelly said employers had to do more to protect their staff and urged the Executive to examine what could be done to support them.
"People set too much store in the saying that the customer is always right," she said.
"Unfortunately a culture of silence has grown up around this issue as many employers don`t want to draw attention to staff complaints.
"Too many employers are not taking this problem seriously and their staff are expected to just get over it. Let me remind you again of the young shop worker who lost her baby. Just get over it? I don't think so."