Sexual Harassment in the Hospitality Industry

A recent ComRes survey for BBC News shows that 40% of women and 18% of men have experienced harassment in the workplace, and highlights that flexible workers are more likely to have experienced unwanted behaviour. Following reports from the film industry and government departments we are now starting to see disclosures from the hospitality industry, as hidden, unspoken and buried memories of abusive incidents are triggered by revelations that are currently making headlines.

Many different behaviours are considered as sexual harassment including, suggestive or indecent language and remarks, unwanted physical contact, requests or demands for sexual acts and the sharing or displaying of pornographic material. Sexual harassment does not always have to be specifically about sexual behaviour or directed at a specific person. For example, negative comments about women as a group may be a form of sexual harassment.

Experiencing this in the workplace can then, by definition, feel violating, hostile, degrading humiliating and offensive. There are no circumstances wherein sexual harassment of any nature is acceptable.

What to do if you need help with this issue

A good first step is to share your experiences – talk first to someone you can trust and speak to in confidence. This does not have to be someone in your organisation if the harassment has occurred at work. Speaking about sexual harassment helps explore what your options are for action. Doing this in secret or isolation is much harder and support can be very useful during this time. To view our factsheet on Sexual Harassment click here

If your employer is a member of Hospitality Action’s EAP you can contact us to discuss your situation in confidence on 0808 802 2111 (24/7) or email

Alternatively non-EAP subscribers can contact our Assistance Line in confidence on 0808 802 0282 (24/7)

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