Women and men are coming forward in California with stories of sexual harassment with more and more frequency thanks to the increased awareness of sexual harassment due to the #metoo movement. One industry that has historically high levels of sexual harassment is the restaurant business.
In a 2017 report, 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men were subjected to sexual harassment while in the restaurant industry. This is a greater number than any other occupation. There are many different ways in which restaurant workers are subjected to sexual harassment. These include innuendo, propositions, sexual jokes, catcalls, groping, and unwanted physical touching. In fact, the behaviors were so prevalent that many of the survey respondents described them as just part of the job.
There are several reasons why sexual harassment is so prevalent in the food and beverage industry. These include:
- Large number of young and insecure women with managers who are often male and slightly older.
- A culture of “the customer is always right”. This doesn’t allow managers to stick up for their employees who are being harassed by customers.
- Male managers who are poorly trained and don’t understand how to fairly treat their female employees.
- A tipping culture which encourages customer sexual harassment.
If a person has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, they should understand that it is illegal. A legal professional who is skilled in employment law can help their client understand their options. Discrimination and harassment are illegal and those who are subject to these workplace events have the right to hold their supervisors accountable.