Duty of Care

dietary restrictions and invisible disabilities

Thrive! With Dietary Restrictions and Invisible Disabilities, Part Two

We know what disabilities are, and I discussed invisible disabilities in, “Thrive! With Invisible Disabilities, Part One.” In part two, I want to chat about some of the behaviors and concepts that will help illustrate dietary restrictions and invisible disabilities. As a reminder, invisible disabilities are also called hidden disabilities because they are restrictions that aren’t clearly visible or apparent. Food allergies and intolerances are included when we talk about invisible disabilities because, just like asthma, arthritis, and other conditions, diseases, and dysfunctions, we can’t see the challenges those with invisible disabilities may be experiencing. The Americans with Disabilities Act…

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Health and Wellness

Lessons for Human Resources Professionals: Health and Wellness Programs – Part Two

In recent years, the dramatic rise in corporate health and wellness programs shows that companies understand (or are beginning to) the benefits of a healthy workforce. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, more than two-thirds of U.S. employers currently offer a wellness program as part of their benefits packages. The main focuses have been on exercise and eating healthier, but unless these programs address everything employees are eating, they are doomed to fail. Take, for example, the case study presented by Alison Acerra, MS, RD, national nutrition and wellness manager for Guckenheimer, a national workplace foodservice provider during…

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Two men bullied at corporate awards banquet for having food allergies

Two Men with Food Allergies Bullied by Coworkers at Awards Dinner

Not Being able to Eat Wheat or Shellfish is No Reason to be Bullied Last week I was at an event where I witnessed two men being bullied/teased/harassed—whatever you want to call it—about their dietary need. I was stunned, embarrassed and utterly dumbfounded. The event was an awards dinner for a corporation and one at which I was hired to manage the food and beverage and oversee the safe execution of special meals for 18 people with dietary needs (a low number considering other events I've done, but still seven percent of the group). The two men who were being…

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An Open Letter to the Meetings Industry

Meetings Industry – An Open Letter on Inclusion

Dear Meetings Industry, In June 2016, I attended Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress. As usual, the international conference was well attended and a wonderful gathering of top industry professionals. We studied food and beverage topics, budgeting, international trends, hybrid and virtual meetings and more. Added to this year’s event was a celebration of inclusion ... mostly. Unfortunately, the convention occurred on the heels of the tragic LGBT nightclub shooting in Florida, where 49 people were killed, over 50 were injured, and over 200 were held hostage until the gunman’s death, when police stormed the club around 2 a.m.…

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The Real Difference Between Dietary Choices & Dietary Needs

As the controversy and, let’s face it, confusion, rages on around the world here’s an easy primer on the why’s and woes of dietary choices and dietary needs. Let’s begin with an actual disease, Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease isn’t an allergy to gluten as many people often mistake. It is an actual autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) causes damage to the small intestine. An estimated 1 in every 100 people has celiac, worldwide and most are undiagnosed. Because this is an actual autoimmune disorder, a diagnosis will ensure opportunity for…

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Stock epinephrine laws can help keep attendees safe at meetings

Advancements in Epinephrine Can Actually be Valuable for Event Attendees

New State Entity Laws Give Venues Opportunity Save Lives Since I wrote this post in May on the historic law that makes Georgia safer for event attendees, I’m excited to be able to add 15 more states to the list of those allowing places of public accommodation (hotels, convention and conference centers, restaurants) to stock epinephrine. If you have a family member or friend with a food allergy, you’re probably familiar with epinephrine. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), epinephrine is used for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions caused by allergens, whether from food…

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Putting out "fires" at events is part of a meeting planner's job description. What procedures do you have in place to manage them successfully?

How to Avoid Food Allergy Catastrophes at Events

I hate to be a downer, but when was the last time you thought about the worst case scenario at your event? Catastrophes can come in many forms: hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism, bombings, riots, medical pandemic, attendee accidents or death. Having procedures in place to handle situations is key to ensuring guest safety, whether you’re a meeting or event planner, a travel director or representative of a corporation. It’s your responsibility (it falls under your duty of care) to your attendees while at your event. Aside from these five standard safety measure all meeting planners and travel directors can…

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