Sexual harassment plagues the restaurant industry

Despite the prevalence of the #MeToo movement and an increased focus on preventing inappropriate behavior in the workplace, sexual harassment continues to plague work environments of all sorts. However, some industries appear to be more susceptible to sexual harassment, which has left many workers in that field feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and afraid for their own safety and their careers.

In far too many circumstances these individuals face negative employment actions like demotion, reassignment, or even termination. Their workplace can be hostile and uncomfortable, and they may be ridiculed incessantly. This is wholly unacceptable and should be stopped immediately.

Restaurant workers face high rates of sexual harassment

One of the industries that sees the highest rates of sexual harassment is the restaurant industry. Here, more than 40% of workers indicate that they have seen an increase in the amount of sexualized comments made by customers in their workplace over the last year or so, and another 25% state that they have been subjected to or witnessed a significant increase in the amount of sexual harassment that has occurred in their place of employment. These workers are amongst those that need to consider legal action.

This problem isn’t new in the restaurant industry, though. In fact, a 2018 study found that 90% of women and 70% of men reported being subjected to some form of sexual harassment while working in the field. But why are these rates so high?

Why sexual harassment occurs more frequently in the restaurant industry

There are a lot of reasons why restaurant workers are subjected to higher rates of sexual harassment. To start, much of a waiter or waitress’s wages are based on tips. Therefore, these workers are less likely to report sexual harassment by customers out of a fear of losing income.

Additionally, although a lot of businesses operate under a “the customer is always right” mentality, restaurants do so to an extensive measure. In order to keep business up, managers are less likely to directly confront customers who engage in inappropriate behavior. After all, these managers are often tasked with increasing revenues for the business.

Building your sexual harassment claim

If you work in the restaurant industry and feel like you’ve been subjected to sexual harassment, then you need to be bold and take the action that is oftentimes necessary to have your voice heard. This oftentimes means taking legal action. But before doing so, you may want to consider diligently building the evidence that you need to support your claim. This means talking to witnesses and gathering their contact information; taking notes of each instance of sexual harassment, being sure to write down every detail of the event; and keeping all communication from your supervisor and human resources department.

You’ll also want to be prepared to defend your work record. In a lot of sexual harassment cases, employers argue that they took a negative employment action because of the employee’s poor performance. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have your work appraisals and witnesses that can speak to your true work performance.

We’re here to help you stand up for your rights

You have the right to work in an environment that is safe and free from discriminatory and harassing behavior. When your employer fails to provide you with that protection and retaliates against you for reporting it, then you should stand up and make sure that you put an end to the egregious behavior and secure what is rightfully yours. We know that can sound daunting, but you don’t have to be afraid. Attorneys like those at our firm stand ready to zealously advocate on your behalf so that your voice can be heard and your future can be protected.

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