Turns out, sexual harassment isn’t the only type of sex-based complaint employers are facing. LGBT-related workplace complaints are on the rise, but unlike with sexual harassment, the law isn’t nearly as clear. In fact, it varies extensively across state and federal courts, leaving many employers at a loss to understand their legal obligations. Let’s take a look at what restaurant owners need to know about sex-based discrimination in the workplace – what conduct is illegal and where.
Nerd alert: Let’s talk statistics for a sec. 62% of folks in the hospitality industry say they’ve engaged in some sort of workplace romance. The industry’s a (pun alert) hotbed for it, consistently topping out among the leading five industries and coming in significantly higher than the national average. But hospitality carries a more nefarious statistic too. At 14.23%, more sexual harassment complaints come from the hospitality sector than finance (3.98%), real estate (1.95%), construction (2.52%) and tech (5.73%) combined. With the #MeToo movement on fire, employers are reevaluating their policies on workplace romance. There are essentially three ways to tackle it. I fall in the Goldilocks camp; I think the third one’s just right.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty? Not in the Workplace: What Every Employer Needs to Know About Handling Sexual Harassment Complaints
The #MeToo movement has taken an interesting turn. When Harvey Weinstein was first accused, it’s hard to remember anyone who came to his defense. The collective outrage against him was swift and furious, and the public immediately demanded his job. Weinstein was fired from his own company three days later and has been a pariah ever since. But when Matt Lauer was accused, the reaction was different. By the time the story broke, Lauer had already been fired, and many saw him as the victim of a bandwagon smear campaign. “Allegations ONLY,” one person tweeted. “I guess guilty until proven innocent is the new norm.”
Truth be told, the restaurant industry was waiting to see who would take the fall. Bro culture has been an open secret in kitchens for years, the last bastion of bawdy behavior on the job. But with the deluge of #metoo stories sweeping the nation, it was only a matter of time before women in restaurants spoke up and spoke out. Employers: learn from the example of John Besh; take control of your corporate culture, or the court will do it for you.