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This is the second part of a two-part series about the various training requirements that form part of the franchise relationship between franchisor and franchisee. For more in-depth advice regarding franchisee training obligations, contact a franchise solicitor.

Franchisee Training: Health and Safety

As a prospective franchisee, you will have duties to your employees while they are at work and you are required to follow the applicable workplace health and safety legislation. To ensure that the workplace is a safe environment, you will require the cooperation of your employees, and should provide your employees with adequate hazard identification training so that safety risks can be managed effectively.

Not only are your responsible for the safety of your employees, you are also responsible for the safety of your clients. The risks of a client being injured whilst on your business’ premises are serious – as the franchisee, you are at risk of the client making a public liability claim, and the franchise brand may also be damaged as a result.

If you are looking at buying a franchise in the hospitality industry, your employees will need to meet the safety standards of any local or state government authorities. This may require you to assign responsibility over food and store hygiene to a ‘food safety’ supervisor who is qualified to identify and avoid any food-related risks and manage the other employees whilst they’re flipping burgers and adding ingredients.

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Under the equal opportunity and human rights legislation on both a state and federal level, business owners, such as franchisees, are required to ensure that the workplace is not tarnished by harassment or discrimination and that workers feel safe whilst at work. In Victoria, there is already legislation that requires employers, such as franchisees, to take action to minimize the presence of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. It is important that your employees are trained to be able to recognize when harassment or discrimination takes place and to take appropriate action.

Given the employment relationship between franchisees and their staff, the franchisees will often become vicariously liable (i.e. responsible) for the actions of employees. In assessing whether or not a franchisee is liable for the actions of their employees, the Court may take into account the different policies in place aimed at addressing these issues and the type of training that has been provided in the course of employment. The Court will also consider how effectively you have enforced your procedures, policies and training requirements. A franchise solicitor should be consulted if this occurs in your franchise business.

Due to this risk, training should extend beyond the operational, introductory training into more extensive and ongoing areas of training. These kinds of training programs may be seasonal, for example, so during Christmas before the staff party, employees can receive training on occupational heath and safety, as well as drug and alcohol policies in the workplace. A solicitor should review the content of these training programs to ensure it is up to date and correct.

Additional Training Programs

To advance the skills of employees in sales and product management, it might be worth looking into external training programs. These training programs are designed to make for a more productive business overall and can certainly benefit your franchise business.

By including these training programs into the franchise offer, the franchisor will be able to guarantee higher-quality staff in the recruitment stages. The Government will actually provide incentives to employers willing to incorporate these training programs into their businesses, making it a financially attractive option.

Conclusion

To achieve franchising success, it is imperative that training programs, both initial and ongoing, be integrated into the franchise system. This training should benefit the employees, as well as the new and current franchisees. If you are looking at becoming a franchisee, consult a franchise solicitor first to determine if there are any training requirements for running the business. The franchise solicitor will also be able to tell you about the training obligations within the franchise agreement. For more detailed advice, contact the franchise solicitors of LegalVision on 1300 544 755.

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