Avoiding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and How to Handle It

Avoiding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and How to Handle It

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Learn to Be Proactive about Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

With popular new movements sweeping the nation, like the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, sexual harassment in the workplace has become a hot topic of debate recently. Gone are the days of sweeping offensive comments under the rug and allowing men and women co-workers or customers to cross the line—it’s 2018, which means the future is here. It’s time for all industries to make a serious change about their sexual harassment policies in the workplace and how instances of sexual harassment should be handled, especially those industries that are more likely to experience it.

Prevalent Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

An overwhelming percentage of women and men employed in the restaurant industry reportedly experience sexual harassment at work. In fact, the restaurant industry as a whole has the most sexual harassment claims filed in the entire United States. This has a lot to do with the way that the restaurant industry culture is set up. Many restaurants run by the mantra, “the customer is always right”. This type of mindset causes many restaurant employees, especially waitresses, to accept sexual harassment and mistreatment from customers. Not to mention, since customers are expected to tip restaurant employees and contribute to their salary in that way, it’s more likely for a restaurant employee to experience sexual harassment.

Smart Ways to Avoid Sexual Harassment at Work

Even though there is never a full guarantee that a worker will not be sexually harassed, restaurant employers can try to protect their restaurant employees from sexual harassment using a few different techniques. Restaurant managers can provide sexual harassment training at least once a year. This type of sexual harassment training session is designed to make employees feel safe and confident while working, even if a problem does arise. Employee training should define what sexual harassment is, remind employees that they have rights in the workplace to protect them from being sexually harassed by customers and co-workers and review the employee complaint procedure. Restaurant employers must also train their supervisors and managers annually so that they know how to properly handle complaints and deal with issues of sexual harassment accordingly.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Coping Mechanisms

Restaurant workers should never feel as though they are alone when sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. However, it can be common for some employees who have experienced sexual harassment to experience feelings of resentment, depression and even misplaced guilt. If a restaurant employee is dealing with the aftermath of sexual harassment, they should report the instance to their manager or supervisor right away and file a formal complaint, following through with it until the issue gets resolved. It’s also important for employees who experience sexual harassment in the workplace to confide in family members and friends if they need to feel some extra support.

Employers’ Best Practices for Utilizing Sexual Harassment Policies and Regulations

Employers of the restaurant industry have an important responsibility to create and maintain a work environment that is free of sexual harassment for their employees. A sexual harassment policy must be adopted immediately and placed into the employee handbook. This sexual harassment policy should detail what sexual harassment is and talk about how sexual harassment is in no way tolerated at the restaurant, as well as go into detail about the fact that co-workers and customers will experience repercussions for permitting acts of sexual harassment in the restaurant. Restaurant employers can also purchase multiple types of restaurant insurance policies, including Employee Practices Liability Insurance. Employment Practices Liability Insurance provides coverage for sexual harassment and discrimination claims, defense costs for wage and hour claims and more.

Consult RPA for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Advice

Restaurant employers can turn to the Restaurant Programs of America, a full-service insurance agency focused solely on the restaurant industry, to purchase helpful restaurant insurance policies that will protect both themselves and their employees from difficult situations that could possibly arise after an employee has been sexually harassed at work. Contact RPA to discuss what benefits your business could benefit from by calling 866-577-7007.

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