Even The Odds In Your Fight For Employee Rights
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3 ways that customers can sexually harass service workers

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | Sexual Harassment At Work

female server taking a food order

If you work in the customer service industry, your job depends on how well you interact with your customers. You need to keep them happy so that they continue patronizing your employer, and your behavior needs to align with the company’s standard and brand.

Sometimes, a customer’s opinion of you and your job performance will determine how much you make if you depend on gratuities for your income. You will probably try your best to be helpful and accommodating so that customers leave feeling happy.

Unfortunately, there are customers who will manipulate this dynamic for personal gain and engage in abusive behavior toward customer service professionals. Employers generally have an obligation to protect their workers from sexual harassment perpetrated both by co-workers and by customers. What are some of the ways that customers can sexually harass workers?

Through unwanted advances

Service workers often feel like they have to be pleasant toward every customer, but some people may misinterpret their kind behavior as flirtation. Customers may flirt and repeatedly return to talk to the same employee even after they turn down advances or make their discomfort with the situation clear.

Some may even take it a step further by trying to leverage someone’s future tip as a reason to tolerate the unwanted advances and flirting.

Through inappropriate touching

Some companies have more revealing uniforms than others, and certain service positions will put workers in close proximity to flirtatious and aggressive patrons. A server at a restaurant, for example, could have a customer slap their bottom when they turn around to go retrieve an item the customer requested.

Through jokes or inappropriate comments

Customers can help create a hostile work environment just like coworkers might. They can make jokes at the expense of employees and even negatively impact the relationships among coworkers.  Their actions can make workers feel unsafe and unable to do their jobs.

If you have endured these kinds of misconduct from a customer, you should be able to turn to your employer for support and protection. Put an end to customer harassment, then the business may have violated your rights by failing to protect you from harassment. Successfully identifying different forms of workplace sexual harassment can help you fight for a safer and less volatile work environment.