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How to reduce sexual harassment in the restaurant industry

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | employment law for employers |

Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry is a growing concern. The problem affects chefs, servers, cashiers and beyond.

When present, it creates an uncomfortable and even unsafe working environment. Employers must do what they can to make their eateries as comfortable as possible for everyone.

Why is sexual harassment common in the restaurant industry?

Restaurants embody certain factors that contribute to the prevalence of sexual harassment. The fast-paced environment, close quarters and power dynamics between employees and managers or customers all play a part. Additionally, the dependence on tips can make waiters and waitresses feel they must tolerate inappropriate behavior to earn a living.

How can employers reduce sexual harassment in restaurants?

Education is fundamental to lowering incidents. Restaurants should provide employee training for all, including management, on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to address it. Additionally, these lessons may cover the inherent value of respecting personal boundaries.

Restaurants need clear, written policies against sexual harassment. Such statements should outline the steps for reporting episodes and the consequences for those who engage in unacceptable activities. Making these decrees visible and easily accessible encourages a culture of accountability.

Employees should feel safe reporting sexual harassment without fear of retaliation. Establishing a confidential reporting system and ensuring all complaints receive a fair investigation makes it easier for accusers to come forward.

Further, fostering a workplace that honors respect and professionalism can help stop sexual harassment. Supervisors must not only enforce rules against persecution but also model respectful conduct.

Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry remains a serious issue. Fortunately, there is much that those in positions of power can do to change the trajectory and make the world a better, more egalitarian place.