A report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has found that 80 percent of women in the restaurant industry have been harassed in the workplace by customers. This is a shocking number, and a sign that something needs to be done about workplace harassment, especially in the service industry.

Harassment is something that workers should never have to deal with. The harassment problem is believed to worsen and become more severe in the service industry because workers depend on their customers for tips. This means that, to some extent, the customer is the payer of a server’s salary. This means that there is a power imbalance, and customers wrongly think that they have a right to act in ways that make the server uncomfortable. This is a myth that needs to be addressed, and it starts with upholding the law.

What is workplace harassment in Missouri?

Harassment in the workplace can be verbal or physical, but it is always unwelcome. It is a type of behavior, either made by a coworker or a customer, that makes the working environment a hostile one for you. It may be of a sexual nature, in which case it would be classed as sexual harassment. However, it may be harassment of another kind; perhaps in relation to your race, gender or disability.

Harassment is evaluated based on the severity of the communication and how much it altered that worker’s experience in the workplace. It is also measured on the frequently of the behavior. Minor harassment that happens frequently could be equally or more damaging than one instance of more severe harassment, for example.

If there is evidence that the harassment affected the worker’s psychological well-being, this will also be taken into consideration.

Taking action

If you have been harassed as a server in a restaurant in Missouri, it is important that you take action in order to reinforce your rights and to get justice for the wrongdoing.