Why sexual harassment is so common in hospitality settings

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Harassment At Work

The hospitality industry grapples with a pervasive issue: sexual harassment. The frequency of such incidents raises questions about the root causes and dynamics at play in bars and restaurants.

From restaurants to hotels, understanding why sexual harassment is so common in these environments helps foster a safer and more respectful workplace culture.

Power dynamics and hierarchies

A key factor contributing to the prevalence of sexual harassment in hospitality is the hierarchical structure of these workplaces. Employees in entry-level positions may be vulnerable to abuse from supervisors or managers. Many people also fear retaliation for speaking out about sexual harassment. Addressing these power dynamics helps dismantle the conditions that enable harassment to persist.

High-stress work environments

The fast-paced, high-stress nature of hospitality work can make sexual harassment more likely. Long hours and tight schedules contribute to an environment where inappropriate behavior persists. Implementing strategies to manage workplace stress helps mitigate risks. So, too, does fostering open communication channels.

Informal work culture and lack of training

Many hospitality settings boast informal work cultures. This can create an atmosphere where some view inappropriate behavior as harmless banter. Insufficient training on recognizing and preventing sexual harassment further compounds the issue. Establishing a culture of respect from the top down helps reduce risks. So, too, does offering comprehensive training programs.

NPR reports that half of all female restaurant workers face sexual harassment weekly. Also, more than 70% of females in the industry face sexual harassment at some point. By addressing the factors that contribute to this behavior, the industry can make strides toward eradicating sexual harassment. In doing so, employers can promote a healthy workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being of everyone.