Every day, there are employees that spend their day in a hostile or unwelcoming work environment. They’re good employees, and they’re just sticking it out until they find something better. (Photo: EyeSpyCC)


Yes, that’s right. Your star server can’t stand your GM because of the lewd comments he makes at her every time they work together. Some may find it funny, but it’s not. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and to be able to work in a safe environment, free from harassment. 


And when the server leaves, you’ll be scrambling to replace them. (And trust us, they will leave.) And is that really a problem you want to have in this extremely tight hiring market?  


In fact, workplace harassment is one of the primary reasons why people in the service and hospitality industry quit their jobs. 


Long after the harassed employee is gone, the problem still persists. And until you address the problem – how your employees behave in the workplace – your workforce, and your bottomline, is still going to suffer.  


High Stakes 

He was riding high on fame and success, until Celebrity chef Mario Batali was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Now Batali and his former business partner Joe Bastianich are paying out $600,000.00 to at least 20 former employees who were sexually harassed as part of legal settlement.


The pair of restauranteurs, which ran restaurants in New York, California and Las Vegas (all mostly shuttered now or bought out due to the same lawsuit) are now industry outcasts: Effectively, the lawsuit and the claims have destroyed their businesses and ended their multi-million dollar careers. 


The same can happen to you and your restaurant.


For owners and operators there’s a simple way to stop the drama: Create an inclusive workplace that respects employees and is a safe environment to work in. 


Don’t Discriminate: Be Inclusive 

Show your employees you value people from all walks of life, no matter their race, religion or gender. Hire people of color. Hire women, transgenders, veterans and other protected classes that are traditionally overlooked.   


Teach Good, Respectful Habits

Just like kids learn from their parents, employees learn from and follow the examples set by their bosses. Set a good example and be respectful to your employees, no matter their role. 


Have a meeting at 9? Don’t show up for it at 9:15 – that sends the message to your employees that time isn’t a priority to you – and you want those employees showing up on time, right? 


Words Have Power, Use Them Wisely

Would you say what you just said to an employee if your Mom was standing behind you? Be mindful of what you say to employees, things can be taken out of context, and what’s funny to you isn’t necessarily funny to someone. Everyone has different sensitivities based on their upbringing, education and other factors – be aware and concise of your words – especially as a manager.  


Create a Respectful Workplace

When you see something, say something. Let your employees know that inappropriate behavior of any kind – touching, cat-calling, even hugging – can be seen as sexual harassment and will not be tolerated. Use extreme prejudice against bad behavior and stop it before it gets started. 


There are even more strategies for creating a respectful workplace, like outlining your expectations in a restaurant employee handbook and reviewing your behavioral expectations periodically with your team.      


EyeSpy offers Sexual and Workplace harassment Prevention training, both in person and online. Taught by HR professionals, the 1 and 2-hour courses give your employees the tools to prevent and respond to sexual and workplace harassment. 


Don’t wait until your star server, line cook or GM quits – or you’re slapped with a multi-million lawsuit – start creating a respectful work environment today.

Share this