Sexual Harassment within the Hospitality Industry

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This news that came out revealed a controversial example of sexual harassment happening in the hospitality industry. A 31-year old single mother who worked as a waitress had reported several incidences of sexual harassment by the restaurant’s head chef and a former line chef. She was seeking a $20 million in compensatory for the damages from Megu restaurant. The woman named Satomi Southward made account of the incident that happened to her including unwelcome sexual advances, use of malicious words and acts of lasciviousness to attempted rape. The woman alleged that the company tolerated such activity.

In an update the former Line chef was found to have also sexually abused another woman. He accused Southward of flirting with him and what happened to them was “completely consensual”. The company president declined to comment and said that the issue is only between employees. Why Sexual Harassment Occurs In The Hospitality Industry? Sexual harassment has been very common in the hospitality industry than in any other industries. As mentioned by Jerome Agrusa and Wendy Coats, they believed that the restaurant industry is highly susceptible to incidence of sexually harassing behavior due to certain social and work related factors.

Employers would hire staff for their companies that were mostly people with an “outgoing personality type”. The restaurant also nowadays is not only for dining but also a perfect place for entertainment. The high degree of social contact in the work place, the unusual hours spend in working has contributed to make restaurant a highly informal place which encourages greater intimacy with the people inside the workplace. Aside form these conversations and sexual jokes became very common in this work setting. What Are The Results Of This Incidence To The Business?

This kind of issues face by the hospitality industry has resulted to various negative consequences. This has resulted to workplace trauma especially among women who are always the victim of sexual harassment by the male employees of the company where they work. This will also result into bad publicity or image which the restaurant will gain after the incident that can affect the business reputation. This will also result into cases where the business owner will have to face criminal charges or will be sued because of such misconduct of employees.

This will cause interruptions and financial loss when you need to pay for the damages. It has been said that the average cost of a claim is from $36,500 to $250, 000 and some have been rewarded with $1,000,000 (Lye, 2007). If this issue caused so many problems with the victim, it also caused a lot of problem with the business itself. The business may encounter setbacks due to the issues brought by the event. This will also result to various ill feelings between employees and the management. Employees will be traumatized which may lead to absenteeism and increase turnover. What Is The Impact On Actual Business Practices?

Since the society today is known as a litigation society as people have observed, the restaurant owners and managers must make an active plan to prevent this sexual harassment lawsuit. The owners and the management themselves must ensure that they do a better job of informing their employees regarding their sexual harassment policies. They need to issue policy procedures prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. They also need to establish grievance procedures that will establish a procedure for sustaining a change and establish discipline procedures for violations.

This kind of issues has reminded the Human Resource Management of the hospitality industry to improve their policies regarding sexual harassment. They need to watch over their employees behaviors to avoid negative situations inside this business in hospitality. How to Deal With the Growing Problem? Employers must be the first to recognize that they are the primary responsible for the protection of their employees. A Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy must be fully implemented by the Human Resource Management in the hospitality industry.

They must not neglect this responsibility they have towards their employees especially among women working as waitress in their company. The code or policy should be applicable to all individual from the owners to employers, managers, supervisors, employees, job applicants to clients and suppliers. Everyone must be involved in the policy. The codes or policies must clearly define the sexual harassment or unwanted conduct and its nature. Those unwanted and unwelcomed behavior must be distinguish from what is still welcomed and tolerable.

The victim of abuse must state clearly that the behavior is really offensive and the perpetrator of abuse must admit that the behavior is totally unacceptable. Sexual harassment takes various forms and may include both verbal and physical abuse. This activity may range from simple touch or petting, excessive sexual language, innuendoes to personal assault and attempted rape. (Hotel and Restaurant News, 2004) From the above example the restaurant management has seemed to tolerate such activities and has no clear policies regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

This industry neglected to set clear guidelines in dealing with unacceptable conducts. It seemed that the company just ignored the matter and may not see how serious its implication. It was evident that the perpetrators violated rights and ruined the dignity of their female employees. It can be avoided into some degree if the management was strict enough and has good management strategies to prevent such employee problems. There must be cooperation and genuine support coming from the employees as well as a sincere effort on part of the management to protect their people against harassment of all kinds.

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