Workers in any occupation can be subjected to sexual harassment, but those who are employed in the restaurant industry are typically more susceptible to it. In fact, some studies have shown that as many as 70% of women who work in the restaurant industry report being sexually harassed. Half of those women are sexually harassed on a weekly basis. Men aren’t immune either, with a 2018 study showing that 70% of those who work in the restaurant industry report being sexually harassed in their place of work.
Why is sexual harassment so prevalent in the restaurant industry?
There are several reasons. This includes:
- A customer is always right mentality: As restaurants try to build their clientele and their profits, a lot of managers are hesitant to call customers out for sexually harassing behaviors. This, in turn, puts their workers at risk.
- Tip-based income: Since tips make up a significant part of restaurant worker wages, they may not want to report sexual harassment perpetrated on them by customers out of fear of losing out on much needed income.
- Gender split and power imbalance: Men make up the majority of restaurant managers. Couple that with a power imbalance between management and low paid workers, and you have a recipe for inexplicable sexual harassment.
- Appearance expectations: In many restaurants, workers are subjected to strict rules regarding their appearance, and those who are attractive are often rewarded for their looks. These appearances can lead to sexual harassment, with management and customers erroneously believing that victims are “asking for it.” Don’t let that mentality hold any credibility.
- High turnover: Since the restaurant industry has high turnover, most victims simply leave their job after being harassed rather than reporting it, which allows perpetrators to get away with their behaviors.
Find accountability for your sexual harassment
You deserve to be treated fairly in your workplace. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, and it can cause an extensive amount of damage to your career and your physical and mental well-being. So, if you’ve been harmed by sexual harassment, then now is the time to take action. After all, doing so will not only protect your interests but also others who work in the same field and may be subjected to similar unacceptable behavior.