Sadly, sexual harassment can occur in any working environment. However, those working in hospitality are especially at risk.
Bars and restaurants, in particular, can present a hotbed for this type of activity. Sexual harassment appears to be acutely pervasive towards female workers in the hospitality industry in particular. Understanding how and why this happens is crucial for both employees and employers.
Sexual harassment in restaurants: The facts
Recent studies suggest that more than 90% of female restaurant workers have experienced sexual harassment at some point while carrying out their duties. Crucially, half of those employees claim to have suffered sexual harassment on a weekly basis.
The fact that more restaurant-based sexual harassment claims are filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Commission than any other industry shows just how widespread the issue is.
Key factors that can contribute to sexual harassment in hospitality
Numerous factors can contribute to a culture of sexual harassment within the hospitality industry. A significant proportion of bar and restaurant staff rely solely on their tips for income. A potential consequence of this is that workers may feel the need to be always polite and courteous, under any circumstances. More than half of the women who work in restaurants have said that a reliance on tips forces them to tolerate demeaning behavior that they otherwise would not.
Nobody should be afraid of being harassed when they head to work. If your employer has failed to protect you from such behavior, you should explore all your other legal options as soon as possible.