Sexual harassment can disrupt the workplace and cause lasting problems for everyone involved. The pressures and pace in the hospitality industry often lead to great camaraderie amongst staff. But the flip side to that is an informality that allows inappropriate behavior to go unchecked. When you add the element of dealing with customers—some who have been drinking—to the mix, there is great potential for inappropriate behavior, which could lead to employer liability. By the end of this course, supervisors and employees should be able to identify ways in which the unique employment setting found in restaurant and bars leads to unique challenges as well as recognize, prevent, and respond to sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior when it does happen.
Why “Sexual Harassment Prevention for Workers in Restaurants and Bars” Matters:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data on sexual harassment claims show that almost 37 percent of all sexual harassment charges filed with the agency come from the hospitality industry—specifically from the accommodations and restaurant sectors—by far, the most of any industry sector.
- • Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace is considered sexual harassment.
• Anyone can be a harasser—a coworker, a supervisor, a vendor, a customer, or any other third party.
• Employers have a duty to protect employees and act with reasonable care to prevent harassment and stop it if it occurs.
• Supervisors have a duty to respond to sexual harassment and report it as soon as they become aware it is happening or has happened.
• Employees need to understand the employer’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment and its procedures for filing a complaint if sexual harassment occurs.
• Retaliation for engaging in protected activity, like reporting sexual harassment or participating in an investigation, is illegal.