Welcome to the sweet and sticky things. Christmas pudding is still a firm tradition in the UK though the desire for variations on the theme seem to get more extravagant every Christmas, according to the marketing from supermarkets. Traditionally the Queen gives a Christmas pudding to each member of her staff (around 1,500). In the past they have come from places like Fortnum & Mason but last year the queen of puddings was supplied by Tesco. While Fortnum & Mason have held Royal Warrants for food supplies Tesco doesn’t seem to be on that illustrious list. However the queen did win a £50 Tesco voucher after her horse Barber’s Shop won an event at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2016; did she use it to sample their puddings?
Food can lead to all sorts of disputes. At the BBC in 2017 a dessert, cheesecake to be precise, was eaten but not by its owner. A message was left for the thief hoping they choked on their ill-gotten sweet. Then a bystander intervened, pointed out violence wasn’t the answer, provided a replacement slice and suggested the thief make a donation to charity. Sadly the new cheesecake was also eaten by the same or a new thief. The original victim added to the pile of notes “To the kind replacer of the cheesecake. It appears crime does pay as it’s been taken. Someone else now needs to help the homeless and repent!” At this point social media raised its head and #cheesegate was born.
Keep your cool
So does an employer have to provide a fridge at work or is it just likely to cause problems. It isn’t usually essential unless a disabled employee has a specific need for one. However installing a fridge can help employees keep the food they eat at work safe and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Keeping the place clean and tidy are also important so everyone needs need to be aware who is responsible for what.
Another fridge problem can arise. Does someone do a daily or even weekly shop at lunchtime and store their goodies till home time? Fighting for fridge space or even arguing about whose quiche it is sounds more like a student issue but can be a problem at work. The problem may increase at Christmas with pressures on time and employees competing to use the space. Allowing the fridge to be used only for food for work consumption might be necessary.
Cakes and ale.
Not only are we indulging more at Christmas but more than the turkey is getting stuffed. According to one survey, carried out in 2017, employees feel that their jobs are having a negative effect on their figures. Many claimed they had gained weight or snack more. This is exacerbated by cakes and deserts being brought in to celebrate birthdays and returns from holiday. What was seen as a team bonding gesture and a way of cheering up a wet Monday is apparently being blamed for the eating of additional calories. One suggestion I saw was for more healthy sharing options but that included “fruit and nuts” and as we have seen that could mean facing other work food problems. Banning fruit is unlikely to be necessary but banning nuts may be important.
Another option is for employers to ban all eating in the office or at least outside designated areas. However employers then need to think about providing a place for staff to eat, and work out when they can spend time in such places. If that seems too far a step then guidelines might be appropriate though hard to police.
Finally – coffee and liqueurs
Edit 49a3. This newsletter looks at new cases and employment related matters, which are likely to be of interest to many. However specialist advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking action based on comments in this newsletter, which is only intended as a brief note. For more information or if you have specific concerns phone me on 01233 714055 or firstname.lastname@example.org