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Hospitality workers among most vulnerable to sexual harassment

| May 21, 2019 | employment law

Working face-to-face with the public is hard work. You must work every day with a happy face to provide the best service to your customers even when you don’t feel like it. As a hospitality industry worker, your ability to make people like you can affect things like your tips. Working in a bar, restaurant or hotel is rewarding for many people.

Unfortunately, few industries are more susceptible to instances of sexual harassment than the hospitality industry. A 2018 nationwide study revealed that 89 percent of hospitality workers had experienced at least one sexual harassment incident in their career. Picture 10 of your coworkers and think that 9-in-10 will or have experienced sexual harassment on the job. That’s unacceptable.

Of those 90 percent, 56 percent reported sexual harassment from a customer or guest and 22 percent stated that a manager had sexually harassed them.

Employers should make sexual harassment policies clear

Among the most disappointing statistics in the study was that three-quarters of hospitality workers were unsure or didn’t believe their employer had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place. The International Labour Organization (ILO) provides examples of what a strong anti-sexual harassment policy should entail. These are a few examples of what the ILO believes a good anti-sexual harassment policy includes:

  • A clear definition of sexual harassment.
  • Examples of inappropriate contact and verbal and non-verbal conduct.
  • Instructions for filing a sexual harassment complaint
  • How your employer will discipline the harasser.

If you’re unsure of what your company’s sexual harassment policy is, you should ask to ensure that one exists and insist that your boss posts it in a visible location for all employees to review. Working in the hospitality industry can be highly enjoyable, but no one signs up for an uncomfortable work place. Sexual harassment is something no one should have to tolerate in the workplace.