No worker deserves a serve when they’re at work.

Yet over 85% of retail and fast food workers are abused at work.

That’s not okay.

From swearing and yelling to spitting and threatening behaviour, there’s no excuse for the increasing amount of physical and verbal abuse that retail and fast food workers deal with on a daily basis.

This kind of abuse has an effect on workers’ physical and psychological well-being and can impact other aspects of their lives.

That’s why the SDA is running a nationwide campaign to prevent and eliminate customer abuse and violence from workplaces.

We’re pushing for industry-wide change to build better protections for workers and seeking to change public attitudes and behaviours towards retail workers.

Click here to watch our message:

Support our campaign to stop customer abuse and violence in your workplace

All responses and personal details will be confidential.

Frequently Asked Questions

If a customer is harassing you it’s important to stay as calm as possible.

Don’t try to address the situation on your own. Call for a supervisor or your manager to come assist you with the customer.
It’s your manager/supervisor’s responsibility to explain to the customer that behaviour is not acceptable and to warn them that any repetition will not be tolerated.

Let your SDA Delegate or Union Organiser know what has happened. They can offer you support and advice.

Make sure you report the customer(s) to management.

Tell your manager if you see a banned customer re-enter the store or if a customer harasses you outside your store. It’s important they are made aware of these situations so they can prevent these incidents in the future.

Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide you with a safe work environment.

They should take all possible reasonable steps to prevent customer abuse and violence from occurring in the workplace.

For example, they should:

  • adopt a policy that makes it clear to customers and staff that customer abuse and violence will not be tolerated
  • encourage staff to report this behaviour to management
  • take effective action by warning customers about their conduct and banning them if necessary

If your employer is not addressing this issue appropriately, follow your workplace grievance procedure set out in your Agreement and call the SDA on 8139 1000 for advice.

For advice and support, please call the SDA on 08 8139 1000.

Customer abuse and violence can have an impact on both your physical and mental health.

If you need professional help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or