Research

Food & Beverage Sector Worker Study (FABS)

Food and Beverage Sector Worker (FABS) Study: Exploring violence, bullying and harassment in the food and beverage service sector in British Columbia.

FABS is a mixed-method study that aims to offer timely and critical evidence of the impact of COVID-19 public health policies on the health and safety of workers in the food and beverage service sector in British Columbia. A collaboration between the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity, the Partnership for Work Health and Safety in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, and the Department of History and Sociology at UBC, Okanagan the project aims to shed light on how public health responses have created and exacerbated gendered and racialized bullying, harassment and violence against workers, with particular focus on two settings in BC: the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many work-related inequities, with essential workers having to work at considerable risk in environments with high risk of COVID-19 exposure. In BC, the food and beverage sector remained open throughout most of the pandemic, with reduced hours, masking, and restricted capacity. In August 2021, by order of the public health officer, patrons of licensed restaurants, pubs, and other establishments were required to show proof of vaccination for entry. Businesses were required to check for vaccination status and deny services to those not meeting this requirement. Women, LGBTQ+, racialized persons, and youth are overrepresented in the food and beverage service sector and in lower paid positions and are at high risk of harassment and violence at work. Such workers are often precariously employed and are at a power disadvantage with employers and customers.

Growing evidence suggests that COVID-19 working conditions, including the requirement to enforce COVID-19 workplace safety protocols, puts these workers at a greater risk for harassment and violence as well as consequent negative physical and mental health outcomes. In an earlier phase of this project, we interviewed food and beverage service workers in the Metro Vancouver and Central Okanagan regions about their experiences of bullying, harassment, and violence while working under COVID-19 restrictions. Findings from the interview phase of the project were used to inform the current phase, where we are surveying food and beverage service workers across BC, whether they worked under COVID-19 restrictions or not.

Research Objectives
  1. This project is a mixed-method study that has three aims:
    Explore the gendered and racialized lived experiences of bullying, harassment and violence of workers while working under COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Assess and characterize the prevalence and social-structural correlates of bullying, harassment, and violence of food and beverage sector workers in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.
  3. Working with community-based organizations, employer and worker associations, and WorkSafeBC to develop and implement a knowledge translation strategy that will provide recommendations and guidelines to prevent and mitigate ongoing violence, bullying and harassment in the food and beverage industry.
About FABS

Team

Principal Investigators: Dr. Kathleen Deering and Dr. Chris McLeod

Co-Investigators: Dr. Luis Aguiar, Dr. Andrea Krüsi, Ms. A Keefe, Dr. Stephanie Premji, Dr. Sean Tucker

Qualitative Research Lead, UBC: Dr. Stephanie Skourtes

Funders

Canadian Institutes of Health Research