Luxury Blythswood hotel under fire after worker sexually assaulted walking home

A luxury Scots hotel is under fire over their response to a worker’s grievance after she was sexually assaulted while walking home from her shift.

Unite the Union has blasted the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel – run by global company InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) – after the company did not uphold the worker’s grievance.

The female staff member at the city centre hotel raised the grievance after being sexually assaulted when making the three-mile trip home after leaving work at 12:30am.

The incident is said to have left her traumatised.

In her grievance claim, she insists the hotel failed to ‘provide adequate duty of care’ and ‘support late-night travel after public transport hours’.

According to the union, the staff member had been promised that she would be provided with transport home prior to the assault happening.

But, in a response to her claims, the company said it would not uphold the grievance claim.

Among the reasons given for the decision, the hotel wrote that an employer’s duty of care obligation only extends to the workplace or when carrying out required business travel.

They added that the company is not responsible for workers’ health and safety once they have left their place of work.

The company also said that risk assessments were currently in place for late-night employees but only apply to the workplace and they are not legally required to include transport home.

Blythswood Hotel also insisted that late-night travel is supported, with staff given credit towards a taxi fare – which has ‘recently’ been reviewed and increased.

Unite Hospitality, which has launched a Safe Home campaign for workers, has blasted the company’s response.

The union claim it’s ‘legally incorrect’ and ‘disgraceful’, while also showing ‘lack of empathy’ in the wake of an employee being sexually assaulted.

A spokesperson for Unite the Union said: “This disgraceful response from IHG to what was a serious complaint about the handling of a sexual assault of an employee doesn’t just demonstrate a distinct lack of empathy or basic human decency as an employer, it is legally incorrect.

“There are several examples in case law which reinforce the idea that an employers’ duty of care extends beyond the workplace. In this case, IHG failed to provide the transport home that had previously been promised and the staff member was forced to walk 3 miles home at 12:30am.”

The union is calling for action to be taken by the hotel to protect other employees after the ‘traumatising’ assault.

They have also vowed to fight the hotel’s decision not to uphold the grievance claim with an appeal and pursue legal action if necessary.

The union addded: “As our leading hospitality members in Glasgow, we shall be supporting the employee with an appeal to the Vice President of IHG Europe and pursuing this legally if they fail to put in place the support and transport that is needed to prevent this traumatising event from happening to any other employees.”

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A spokesperson from Kimpton Blythswood Square: “We were saddened to hear of an incident involving one of our team members, which took place off-property and is now being investigated by the relevant authorities.

“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. The safety and security of our guests and team members is always our highest priority.”

In the wake of the incident, there have also been calls from other workers for Glasgow City Council to do more to protect staff working unsociable hours.

It comes after East Dunbartonshire Council set out new criteria for licensed premises, which includes ‘ongoing employee training and social responsibility, including late-night transport arrangements for employees’.

Glasgow City Council have been contacted for comment.

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