Sexual Harassment In Rest. Essay, Research Paper
Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant
Sexual harassment is any unwanted action or language of a sexual nature. .Sexual harassment is usually defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an individual, or where such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering unreasonably with the individual’s work performance, or creates an offensive, hostile or intimidating working environment” (Civil Rights Act of 1964), (Palmer, 1997). Most organizations have made it clear that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. However, Because of the differences in the hospitality service versus other industries, what may be normal behavior among the restaurant employees may very well be sexual harassment.
When you listen to the employees of any restaurant, you will hear some of sexual behavior, joking and horseplay at work. While most of this behavior is normal social interaction in a service industry, but in an office setting, these kinds of behavior is known as sexual harassment.
The restaurant industry is especially susceptible to incidents of sexual harassing behavior due to certain social characteristics. The most restaurants want to wait staff to have outgoing personalities. Wait staff who have a friendly and outgoing personality usually sell more to the customer which produces higher profits for the restaurant as well as larger tips for the wait staff. Today, people do not just go to restaurants to eat, but they go to be entertained. Due to the high number of people restaurant employees are in contact with on a daily basis whether it be customers or employees, those who have outgoing or friendly personalities are likely to be more social. Other social characteristics include the high degree of social contact in the workplace, the unusual hours of work, including long, irregular hours involving evenings and holidays and the involvement with a number of different people in the course of delivering the service. For these reasons, restaurants create a very informal environment, which will create more sexual misconduct behavior.
Two General Categories of Sexual Harassment
As Defined by the EEOC in 1980, there are two different categories of sexual
1. Quid pro quo occurs when a supervisor or manager conditions an employment benefit or continuing employment on the employee s acquiescence in the form of sexual behavior.
2. Hostile environment. No employment benefits need be lost or gained, and this type of harassment may be engaged in not only by management, but also by co-workers or persons who are not even employed by the employer. An hostile environment occurs where sexual jokes, suggestive remarks, cartoons, physical interference with movement such as blocking or following, and sexual comments create an offensive working environment. In determining when conduct is unwelcome, it important to determine is whether the victim indicated by his/her conduct that the sexual advance or conduct were unwelcome, not whether any participation was voluntary. The victim s conduct may be totally passive, such as not laughing at sexual jokes. The conduct will be evaluated from the objective viewpoint of a reasonable person facing the same conditions. The victim s perspective will be used, not community standards or stereotypes of acceptable behavior. “A hostile environment exists wherever employees are exposed to persistent and unwelcome lewd remarks, sexual taunting, talking in seductive tones, quarries about one’s personal life, suggestive sounds, obscene gestures, pinching, touching and references to anatomy and physical appearance by anyone entrusted with control of company policy if the acts were performed in the execution of a corporate function”. (Sherry 1995).
An employer is strictly liable for the sexual harassing conduct of managers and supervisors in both the quid pro quo and hostile environment s situation. .The theory of the employer s liability is respondent superior, that is, the employer is liable for the wrongful acts of an employee (supervisor) done in furtherance of the employee s job responsibilities (granting job benefits or detriments). x(textbook)
The assumption is made that if the manager/supervisor did it, then the manager/supervisor knew about it, and therefore the company knew about it. The employer is liable for harassment of an employee by a co-worker and possibly even of non-employees, if the employer knew, or should have known, of such conduct and failed to take immediate and appropriate action. Sexual harassment also may occur where employment benefits are granted because of one employee submission to a supervisor request for sexual favors, but where other employees equally or better qualified to receive the benefits are denied them. If the employer did not know of the conduct, the EEHC will consider that the employer had notice unless the employer can establish that it took reasonable steps to prevent the harassment from occurring. Such reasonable steps may include having a sexual harassment policy in place, as well as providing sexual harassment training to supervisors and managers.
Sexual harassment does not only have to happen from management to employees or from employees to employees it can come in the form of delivery men, clients or customers and even service personnel in your establishment. This is known as third party sexual harassment. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because sexual harassment isn’t happening within the wall of your firm, you’re off the hook. .According to Title VII, employers are liable for any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that occurs within the work environment”(textbook).
Moreover Sexual harassment is a problem at workplace all over the world. In a survey conducted in 1992 by the coalition against Sexual abuse at Hong Kong about 85% of the 500 women questioned were harassed in various forms like teasing, sex jokes, commenting on their body. In a survey in Britain by a labor research department about 73% experienced harassment at work teasing, letters, calls, touching. In the U.S number of complaints with US equal opportunity commission increased by 50% between October 1991 and June 1992 (Sexual harassment in Asia, 45). Many women in Hong Kong are asked to show evidence when they want to take action against the harasser. Working women were treated like second class citizens in Japan and only 1 case had gone to court though they had an equal opportunities law passed in 1985 (Sexual harassment in Asia, 45).
Sexual harassment can take many forms from a variety of personnel and management, as well as employees who have to be aware of “what is sexual harassment? It is far more than physical assault or a demand for sex in order to retain a job or be promoted. It can be:
.Unwelcome sexual advances x (textbook)
Requests for sexual favors in return for job benefits
.Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature x (textbook)
.Hostile, or offensive work environment x(textbook)
Compliments with sexual overtones
Sexual harassment occurs more often in the Restaurant Industry?
The survey shows that .Over 60%, (60.6%) of the respondents stated that they felt sexual harassment occurs more often in the restaurant industry than other industries. The female respondents overwhelmingly agreed with almost 70% (69.6%), stating that sexual harassment occurs more often in the restaurant industry than other industries. x (Internet)
Sexual Harassment is more accepted in the Restaurant Industry?
The survey shows that .Over 80 % (80.6%) of the female respondents and 64.1% of the male respondents feel that sexual harassment is more acceptable in the restaurant industry than in other industries. x (Internet)
Sexually harassed at work
The survey shows that .Over 30% (30.9%) of the respondents stated yes. Female respondents stated they have felt sexually harassed by a customer, manager or co-worker 42.4%, with 21.2% of the male respondent having a similar experience. x (Internet)
Sexual harassment policy in the workplace
The survey shows that .Almost one third, (32.9%) of the respondents answered no or unsure. In other words, over one third of the employees stated that they were uninformed of a sexual harassment policy in the restaurant where they are employed. x(Internet)
Supervisors, managers, and employees must know and follow the company s policy against sexual harassment. If a violation of company policy is found, a prompt and effective remedy should be provided to the complaining employee and disciplinary action taken against the harasser. The company can only determine whether company policy was violated. Supervisors and mangers should avoid making any statements or conclusions that illegal sexual harassment has taken place.
After reading about the above information on sexual harassment, it can be understood that it is a very controversial issue. I selected this topic because now days I have heard a lot about harassment and wanted to know the laws for it. I have become aware of the actions that are termed as sexual harassment, the reasons behind them and the possible solutions suggested. Every one should respect the very existence of the other person and have control over his or her feelings and actions. Sexual harassment is not only a criminal act because from the physical point of view but also due to the future mental instabilities that would arise. Keeping all this in mind a person should be aware that it is a grave criminal act either directly or indirectly and also take steps to stop it in places were it exists. The only way that a sexual harassment issue can be avoided in the work place is by clearly defining what constitutes sexual harassment in the work place and educating all the people involved about it. All should be educated to recognize when they are truly abused when they are not because miscommunication is the main cause of these incidents. But it all comes to what the victim thinks is sexual harassment and how he or she wishes to go about dealing with it.