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When you are expected to act sexually at work

Establishments such as Hooters and Twin Peaks market themselves on the attractiveness and sexual allure of staff members. Even in the environments of supposedly family-oriented restaurants, though, you might be expected to flirt in order to make sales or tolerate sexual advances from customers and coworkers. At a certain point, such expectations constitute sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to the Huffington Post, as many as one-third of all women have experienced sexual harassment at work. If you work in a restaurant or any other environment where you are expected to act sexually, you should be aware of the following facts about identifying harassment.

Inappropriate touching is never OK

It is not uncommon for patrons and coworkers to get a little too touchy with workers. Restaurant kitchens are often tight spaces, and working at a bar can be claustrophobic, but this is never an excuse to touch someone in a way that is inappropriate. Generally, any touch below the belt might be considered sexual harassment, and for women, hands should never veer towards your chest.

An outfit does not indicate consent 

Your work uniform might be intentionally sexy, or you might dress stylishly to maximize tips. No matter what you wear, your attire does not constitute consent to any type of touching, sexual comments or other forms of harassment. These actions are still unacceptable — regardless of what kind of outfit you may typically wear to work.

You have no obligation to act sexually

Flirting with customers might help you upsell certain items, and acting in a sexually suggestive manner might be lucrative for your employer. Your manager cannot require you to do this, though — and simply asking may constitute sexual harassment in and of itself. You should not be expected to make or tolerate sexual comments or advances of any kind in your workplace. In some cases, it is helpful to consult an employment attorney regarding your legal rights.

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