Harassment in the Workplace...It's Not Just Hollywood
December 15, 2017 | 1213 Views
Since the story broke regarding the unacceptable sexual misconduct of Harvey Weinstein, there is a new public figure accused every day. According to a Times Magazine article by Samantha Cooney published on November 9, 2017, there are now 36 high-profile people accused. They are high-powered directors, actors, senators, and comedians. And yes, chefs, restaurateurs, and hoteliers.
Last month, an open letter to the hospitality industry by Tom Colicchio was published. He called out our industry’s culture of widespread sexual harassment; a culture that has gone on for decades.
What can WE do to protect ourselves, our employees, and change the culture, so a new generation does not think it’s okay to be the harasser or not speak out as a victim? Here are a few stats from a 2014 survey by Restaurant Opportunities Center United to support why this is important.
- Nearly 80% of female and 70% of male restaurant staff have experienced some form of sexual harassment from co-workers.
- Nearly 80% of women and 55% of men in the industry have been harassed by customers.
- Even more alarming, approximately three out of four employees who experience harassment never report this behavior due to fears of not being believed, being ignored, or experiencing social or professional retaliation.
How do you keep your employees safe?
- Train your managers to respond proactively to any inappropriate behavior they witness. If you do not have a training program, look at the programs our CHART partners have to offer.
- Have a clear process. Create guidelines outlining what types of behavior are inappropriate for your employees, customers, and even vendors and how to report it.
- Educate all employees, not just your managers. Make sure that your employees know what is appropriate and how to respond when harassed. Also, make it clear that they should not be concerned about any retaliation.
- Respond quickly to issues.
I don’t have the complete answer to how this can be fixed, but I do know, we need to work together as a collective group to change the culture.
We can make a difference.