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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Sexual Harassment

Talk to anyone working in the hospitality and entertainment industries and they will tell you that sexual harassment not only exists but that it is prevalent. We break it down for you with 7 quick facts that paint a picture of the industry today.

safe bar, bartender, safe bar network, active bystander, bystander intervention, sexual assault, sexual harassment

1. Hospitality industry workers, including bar and restaurant employees, file more sexual harassment claims in the United States than workers in any other industry (Harvard Business Review, 2018).

2. As many as 90% of women and 70% of men working in the hospitality industry have reported that they have experienced sexual harassment.

3. Sexual harassment is about power and control. The typical server or hostess is young, female, and working for an older and more powerful male manager: 71% of restaurant servers nationwide are women.

4. Women, particularly women of color, are more likely to be hired for low-paying jobs with less power (like quick-serve) than for higher-paying, hirer-status opportunities (like fine dining).

5. With a turnover rate of 70% annually people who are being sexually harassed are often leaving an uncomfortable or unsafe work environment without making any complaints.

6. “The customer as always right.” And the reality is that bar, restaurant, and nightclub employees experience harassment from customers on a daily basis, but often don’t make a complaint.

7. In this industry, often workplace culture values employees’ looks and research shows that women who are believed to have used their looks to get ahead are seen as more “deserving” of sexual harassment.

safe bar, bartender, safe bar network, active bystander, bystander intervention, sexual assault, sexual harassment

The bottom line is that employees in the hospitality and entertainment industries often don’t feel comfortable confronting sexual harassment and the result is that this uncomfortable and unsafe behavior becomes the norm.

That is exactly why the SAFE Bar Network exists. We engage bar, restaurant, and nightclub staff in conversations about sexual violence, active bystander skills, and their power to confront uncomfortable and unsafe behavior.

We see these industries making positive changes every day!

If you have a favorite bar, restaurant, or night club encourage them to join the SAFE Bar Network. They can learn more at

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault our partners can help. Visit MOCSA and RAINN.

Interested in learning more about bystander intervention? Visit our friends at With Us Center for Bystander Intervention.

To learn more about the field of sexual violence response and prevention visit PreventConnect and NSVRC.

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