19% of women ‘sexually assaulted at work’ in hospitality

Date: May 02, 2017

Nearly one-fifth of women with careers in the hospitality industry have been sexually assaulted in the workplace, according to new research.

A survey published on Friday (April 28) revealed that 89 per cent of females reported sexual harassment while working in hospitality, with one respondent claiming they were drugged and raped by an employer.

Hospitality union United Voice Victoria conducted the research, which the organisation described as offering "a frightening snapshot" of life within the industry for young women.

A range of incidents came to light, including:

  • unwanted sexual advances (73 per cent);
  • sexist comments (87 per cent);
  • inappropriate touching (69 per cent); and
  • comments regarding their body (85 per cent).

In addition, 86 per cent of respondents admitted feeling unsafe or at risk within the workplace.

Employers 'not doing enough'

Jess Walsh, Victorian secretary of United Voice, said the stories the union had heard were "horrible".

"Every day young women are going to work feeling unsafe, in fear of being groped, humiliated or threatened by customers or managers," she stated.

"Some employers put young workers' safety and wellbeing well behind their customers' desire to have another drink. It's wrong and it's dangerous. Young workers' safety needs to come first, second and third in the hospitality industry."

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that sexual assault and harassment are bigger problems than communities believe.

She argued these problems are worse in sectors where lots of women are employed and the work is casual, such as hospitality. The United Voice survey showed 68 per cent of respondents were not permanent employees.

Swanky bars 'the worst'

Jennifer, whose surname was omitted for privacy, told the SMH that upmarket bars were the worst places for sexual harassment.

"The swankier the venue, the more b******t goes on there, because the blokes [who work and socialise there] are paid more and think more of themselves," she explained.

Managers would often ignore the problem, Jennifer added, replacing her with someone who didn't complain if she brought incidents to their attention. She said very little is done about attacks due to the ubiquity of the behaviour and the fact employers were also sometimes involved.

If you are sexually assaulted in the workplace, you could be eligible for compensation, making it important to talk to an experienced lawyer who can take you through the available options.

Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers may be able to help, so please get in touch today for more information.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.