For decades, the restaurant industry has been a bastion for sexual harassment, sexism and workplace bullying. Many who work in the restaurant industry are women, immigrants, and, in some cases, undocumented immigrants, who may feel powerless in confrontations with crude and offensive co-workers, customers and managers.
The industry wants this to change. For this to happen, a thorough makeover is required in order to reign in this boorish behavior and let entire staffs and customers know that such conduct will not be tolerated. A gradual cultural shift will improve things, and it has to begin at the top with restaurant owners and key managers.
Implementing strong rules
A good leader will implement and maintain a strong set of rules. If incidents of sexual harassment or bullying take place, he or she also will immediately call out employees for inappropriate behavior and take swift action such as immediate termination.
Sexual harassment is typically about having the power over someone. But once sexual harassment is confronted and eventually stamped out, things will change. The result tends to be empowering employees who now work in an environment of respect, trust and sincere camaraderie.
What you should do if harassed
If you are sexually harassed or bullied in the workplace, here’s what you need to do:
- Maintain a detailed record of every incident.
- Save questionable notes, texts, voicemails and social media posts that have targeted you.
- Report incidents to management or human resources.
As the #MeToo movement has made a substantial impact on society in the past several months, more women and sexual harassment victims have come forward. Enough is enough. Changes are slowly taking place in the entertainment industry, and the same is happening in the restaurant industry.
Restoring a culture of respect and zero tolerance for sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying is critical for a sea change to take place.