Many people think of sexual harassment as something that involves a supervisor or a group of co-workers. In reality, anyone you encounter in the workplace could mistreat you based on your sex and appearance.
Those who work in customer service positions are sometimes at higher risk for sexual harassment than those in other professions. All too often, companies turn a blind eye toward the misconduct of clients and customers. In fact, some franchises and corporate businesses structure their business model around giving their customers license to objectify or even sexually harass those providing table service or haircuts.
However, service workers do not need to endure harassment or misconduct on the job, even if it comes from customers. Any misconduct or sexual harassment warrants action from a worker and from their employer.
Service professionals can ask their employers to protect them from abuse
Customers who make unwanted advances, commit assault by touching a worker without their consent or who threaten someone’s tip and, therefore, income in a situation dangerously close to quid pro quo sexual harassment violate the rights of the workers they mistreat. Workers should feel comfortable asking their manager to help them address such conduct.
Companies don’t just have to protect employees from sexual harassment from their managers and co-workers. Companies also have a responsibility to protect staff members from abusive customers. If management does not take reports of customer harassment seriously, workers may need to document the situation so that they can take additional action.
How do you prove your employer allowed harassment to occur?
Regardless of the name of the business where you work or the kind of uniform they expect you to wear, you should not have to endure demeaning comments or unwanted physical contact just to get paid for your work.
Creating a written record of every time you endure misconduct and your supervisor ignores your complaints can show a pattern of behavior that creates a hostile work environment. If your company won’t protect you and other workers from customer mistreatment, filing a civil lawsuit may be the only way to defend your rights.
Knowing that you can fight back against customer sexual harassment may be the first step toward holding a company accountable for the toxic environment it created for its employees.