Alleged Restaurant Management Negligence in Fatal Workplace Incident

This case study examines a fatal workplace violence incident at a restaurant, focusing on allegations of management negligence in failing to act on warnings about a disgruntled employee's threatening behavior.

ByZach Barreto

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Published on February 1, 2024

Two employees in restaurant kitchen

Case Overview

This case study delves into an incident at a restaurant chain where an employee was tragically shot and killed by a disgruntled coworker. The coworker, known to have a criminal history, arrived at the restaurant intending to confront another individual. When the victim intervened, they were fatally shot.

Allegations of negligence have been leveled against the restaurant management, asserting that despite being aware of the coworker's criminal background and receiving multiple warnings about their threatening behavior days before the incident, they failed to take appropriate preventative measures.

Questions to the Restaurant expert and their responses

Q1

Please describe your background in restaurant management, specifically as it relates to vetting potential employees and reporting/managing threats.

I bring over 20 years of experience in restaurant management and operations to this case. My expertise lies in developing safety and security protocols, creating employee interview guides, and establishing screening procedures.

Managing threats involves layers of published and practiced safety redundancy and alert protocols with regular testing and training. Proactive reporting and following up on actions are crucial elements of these processes.

Q2

What standards are in place for restaurants to ensure that all employees are fully vetted before they are hired?

In my experience, effective vetting processes include comprehensive criminal/financial background checks, secondary interview screenings, personality/psychometric screenings, and thorough reference checks on previous employment.

Q3

Briefly, what are the appropriate steps that should be taken when threats and indications of dangerous conduct are notified to management?

When threats or signs of dangerous conduct are reported, specific step-by-step protocols need to be activated immediately. These protocols should be outlined in both the training manual and ongoing operations manual. Regular practice of these steps is essential, including assigning high alert status to certain individuals at all access points.

Q4

Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If so, please describe.

While every case is unique, I have indeed reviewed cases involving workplace violence in restaurant settings. Each one has reinforced the importance of robust safety protocols and proactive threat management.

About the expert

This expert brings over 35 years of experience in hospitality, hotel, and restaurant management and operations to the case study. Their academic background includes degrees in restaurant management, hotel and tourist enterprises, human development, and leadership philosophy from reputable institutions. They have held significant roles in the industry, including director of food and beverage at a major hotel chain, vice president of operations at a national hotel corporation, and president of a hospitality corporation. Currently an associate professor of hospitality management, they are also an active member of an international council on hospitality education, with numerous peer-reviewed publications and prestigious research grants to their credit.

Expert headshot

E-166204

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About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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