Steps You Can Take to Prevent Harassment in Your Restaurant


What’s harassment… and what’s humorous? What’s threatening… and what’s flattering? It depends who you ask… and who’s complaining. As a restaurant manager, your job is to err on the side of what an employee could be feeling. Don’t try to read what your employee is thinking, ask. And act.

Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, a common type of harassment or discrimination seen in the hospitality business. However, discrimination based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation can be equally damaging to a person’s well-being as well as a restaurant’s bottom line.

When any form of harassment is reported in your operation, you have to react quickly, appropriately and definitively. Follow your company guidelines – or check out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for legal procedures – as soon as the first complaint is made. In the meantime – before problems occur – implement these steps to prevent harassment in your workplace:

  • Study, post and train employees on your harassment policies. Communicate to your team that you are taking a “zero tolerance” approach toward discrimination and harassment and ask them to sign the policy, acknowledging that they have read and understood its contents. (If you have employees whose primary language is not English, have the policy translated.)
  • Train, train, train. There are countless harassment training options out there. Some are even specifically focused on the hospitality industry. Find the program that works best for your operation and make sure all employees participate.
  • Make it easy for employees to report an incident. Provide a few people (team leaders, managers, etc.) who an employee can confide in. Give the option for a male or a female and make sure all employees know who they can talk to if they’re being harassed in any way.
  • Conduct a survey. Ask employees to anonymously complete a questionnaire that asks if they’ve been harassed in your operation. Often this simple tool will let you know that there’s a problem, even if nobody’s talking about it. 

Online Sexual Harassment Training

Training is the key to preventing sexual harassment. Online training makes it easy to quickly train everyone on your staff to recognize sexual harassment and take action when it occurs. Click here for more information on the Harassment Prevention online training.

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