What Your Restaurant Needs in its Sexual Harassment Policy
Did you know that more sexual harassment claims are filed in the restaurant industry than in any other industry? As many as 90% of women and 70% of men in the industry reportedly experience some form of sexual harassment, according to the Harvard Business Review.
With Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April, it’s time to develop new restaurant and bar policies and take a harder look at existing ones. Are your existing standard operating procedures working as well as they could? Has a recent state law change made sexual harassment training mandatory, but you don’t know where to begin? Look no further. Society Insurance, which specalizes in insurance policies for restaurants and bars, has put together seven items restaurant decision makers should include in their sexual harassment policy including how to file a complaint, retaliation procedures to ensure the victim is protected against possible future vengeful acts, state-specific resources and online training.
Discuss different scenarios and give various examples of what constitutes sexual harassment or does not constitute sexual harassment. Employees may have a different idea of what is considered sexual harassment.
Every situation is unique so this section shouldn’t be too detailed, but rather cover the steps of addressing, documenting and completing the procedure.
Most importantly, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney in your state to review and discuss your sexual harassment policy in detail before rolling out to employees.
If you don’t know where to start, we recommend ServSafe’s Sexual Harassment Prevention for the Restaurant Industry program to help create a harassment-free workplace. Sexual harassment should not be considered as just “part of the job.” Besides the obvious trauma that can accompany sexual harassment, research has shown harassment in the workplace increases employee stress, anxiety, burnout and turnover. Additionally, it’s the employer’s legal obligation to protect their employees from sexual harassment as stated by the EEOC.
Real, tactical plans are the key to addressing and curbing harassment. It starts with business owners and managers to create a safe working environment and lay out a clear path should incidents occur.
This article is not a template. It is meant to be a guide as to the questions and issues that should be addressed when drafting a policy. The links provided are a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute legal advice or an endorsement or approval by Society Insurance of any of the statements, or opinions, or content of the organization. Society Insurance bears no responsibility for the accuracy or content of linked or cited material. This article is not intended to give legal opinions or provide any kind of legal counsel. For a legal opinion, please seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney.
About the Author (photo here): Krista Arnhoelter is a senior human resources manager at Society Insurance. Krista oversees the recruiting, benefits, wellness, employee relations, employee engagement, employee development and payroll aspects of human resources at Society. She has earned the PHR and SM certifications. Learn more at societyinsurance.com.
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