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The madness and mayhem of ‘Black Friday’ is set to hit the high street again and businesses and staff are preparing for the chaos.

Published 11 November 2015

The American tradition which sees retailers slash prices created scenes of bedlam last year as shoppers literally fought to grab a bargain.

Police were called to deal with disorder and shop workers were also attacked and verbally abused.

In Greater Manchester a 28-year old man was convicted of assault after punching a Tesco assistant and threatening to ‘smash the face in’ of another member of staff on ‘Black Friday’ 2014. It was one of many public disorder incidents which took place across the country.

The sales event is set to take place on 27 November, 2015, but police chiefs have urged retailers to cancel the controversial discount day. Supermarket chain Asda is the first retailer to announce it is abandoning the one-day sales event

USDAW, the shop workers union, has revealed that over half of shop workers were verbally abused in the last year. There was a spike around the festive period when shoppers are stressed and under pressure to pick up presents for loved ones.

All employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means they should take all reasonable steps to ensure their health, safety and well-being.

Demonstrating concern for the physical health of staff can help build and reinforce an employer’s commitment to its employees. There are wide ranging requirements under the duty of care, which include providing safe work environment.

Tesco has confirmed it will be participating in ‘Black Friday’ again this year but it has put measures in place to ensure it goes smoothly.

A knock-on effect of the event is that many workers also want to take time off work to ensure they do not miss out on the generous discounts on offer.

North West employment law specialist Peninsula Business Services said it has taken thousands of calls from employers inundated with holiday requests from staff desperate to join the ‘Black Friday’ shopping frenzy.

Clear policies should be in place and communicated to staff in terms of dealing with requests for days off, and setting out how any unauthorised absence will be dealt with.

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