America's service industry experiences harassment at a higher rate than workers in other industries. According to Eater, “More than 170,000 claims were submitted to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) between 1995 and 2016. Of those, 83% came from women. Just over 10,000 claims were submitted by employees at full-service restaurants. Another 1,000 came from those working in other types of eateries, including bars or restaurants with limited service; about 800 claims came from agricultural workers. “Below we discuss 5 tips for harassment prevention in the service industry. Read, “ Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. ”
5 tips for preventing harassment in the service industry
A harassment policy sets the stage for what behavior is not acceptable in the workplace. Start your harassment prevention policy with a goal. This is your opportunity to state the desired result of your company-wide policy. An example might be, the XYZ company is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from all forms of harassment. Then list the policy guidelines. The guidelines will contain definitions of harassment and the forms that are not tolerated, which may include protected status. It may also be beneficial to add the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Sexual Discrimination Guideline and state law to your policy. In addition to harassment, bullying in the workplace can be added to your policy.
Examples of bullying can be:
- Verbal bullying
- Physical bullying
- Gesture bullying
Finally, you want to specify the procedure an employee should follow if he or she is subjected to harassment or bullying. Be sure to include what disciplinary action may be taken against the harasser or if anyone responds to an employee to file a harassment / bullying complaint.
2. Ensure that staff are harassed.
Education is a key component. prevention. Your training program should consist of an in-depth review of your harassment prevention policy. Review the forms of harassment that are not tolerated and require staff to watch the EEOC-produced video called "How to Recognize, Address and Prevent Harassment in the Workplace". The training should be completed within the first days of employment and on an annual basis with all employees.
3. Distribute Company Policy.
Distribute harassment prevention policies during employment and reintroduce updates during training. Require all employees to recognize the policy by signing and dating. You should also post a copy of the harassment prevention policy in the break room so that employees are reminded of each shift. Documentation helps if your company ever experiences a harassment investigation or claim.
4. Appoint two individuals to receive complaints
Appoint at least two people who are credible to receive complaints and report them to the company owner. For smaller companies, the owner and manager or lead would usually be appointed. List who employees can report a complaint to under the procedure section of your harassment prevention policy.
5. Obtaining Liability Insurance (EPLI)
An employer with superior internal control and procedures may still encounter litigation. Every business has an EPL exposure and even frivolous claims can require a significant investment of your time and money to hire skilled legal counsel to defend your business.
Download our EPLI handout for more information on EPLI coverage options through Society.  ServSafe Workplace: A Harassment Prevention Tool for the Service Industry
ServSafe Workplace is a comprehensive set of training programs rooted in the cultural and social issues that affect today's restaurant and hotel industry. This training program focuses on the prevention and management of issues related to workers' work and safety and helps strengthen a facility's position against workplace harassment.
Watch the ServSafe Workplace Video on Employee Sexual Harassment Prevention Video provided by the National Restaurant Association.
The course on prevention of harassment helps owners and managers:
- Define sexual harassment and the two forms it can take
- Understand the effects of sexual harassment on victims and companies  Recognize behavior that is appropriate and not suitable for work
- Understand when and how to report sexual harassment
- Recognize employer and managerial responsibility for reporting and handling sexual harassment
- Learn how to create a harassment-free culture in the workplace
- Understand how to investigate Allegations of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
ServSafe provides both an employer and employee course to prevent harassment. As a social security policyholder, you are entitled to a discount on training to prevent harassment in ServSafe by visiting the Society and ServSafe portal. Social insurance discounts will be applied at check-out.
Read more about coverage that balances your best employment methods with solid protection against employee claims by contacting your local social insurance agent .