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Skeptical Harassment is Happening in Your Venue? This Post is For You.

Updated: Jul 21

If you or someone you know has worked in the food and beverage industry you've undoubtedly experienced or heard stories about everything from the bizarre to the scary. Food and beverage employees suffer the highest rates of workplace harassment of any industry, both from customers and colleagues. And we know that across industries, sexual harassment goes unreported more often than not.


The bottom line? If you are the owner or manager of a bar, restaurant, club or cafe, harassment is likely happening in your establishment. And if you don’t know about it, your employees haven't told you about it. Skeptical? Ask your employees if they have seen someone grab others when they walk by or heard someone make sexual comments that make others uncomfortable. These are two examples of sexual harassment.


Food & beverage leaders have a responsibility to be proactive in preventing harassment before it starts. This doesn’t just include protecting your employees; it includes protecting your patrons as well.


Here’s the good news: Bartenders, waiters and hosts are amazing people. Not only can they juggle tables and wait times, coordinate unique dining experiences with balletic grace, and create pure magic in a glass; successful service professionals are also skilled social facilitators who know how to read human behavior and respond without escalation.


For this reason, bartenders, waiters and other service staff are uniquely positioned as frontline allies to women, LGBTQIA patrons, and others who want to enjoy a safe night out.


Leaders need to have these conversations with their teams before someone reports a harassment incident. Teach your team to notice uncomfortable and unsafe situations, interrupt effectively, and offer support.


Not only will this benefit your patrons – it’ll protect your staff too. Once your employees learn these skills, they’ll quickly notice when someone is uncomfortable and unsafe and step in to help out. And by starting the conversation preventatively, your employees will know that you are committed to increasing safety and giving everyone - employees and patrons - a safe night out.


This blog post was a collaboration with our friends at HRuprise. HRuprise is a network of HR professionals dedicated to changing the way employees are supported in the workplace.

They help employees get the objective, trustworthy HR support they’ve always deserved, and help employers build trust, deepen loyalty, and inspire every employee to bring their best self to work.


Interested in learning more about the SAFE Bar Network and our work to give everyone a safe night out, sign up for our monthly newsletter here. Or contact us at info@safebarnetwork.org


To learn more about joining the SAFE Bar Network visit safebarnetwork.org/join


The SAFE Bar Network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) you can join the team by donating your time, talent, and money to the mission of giving everyone a SAFE Night Out, just click here.


SAFE Bar Training conversations are simple, manageable, and they work – but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out these real-life, Everyday Active Bystanders.


To learn more about active bystander skills check out our blog post, Obstacles. What obstacles? 3 Full Proof Everyday Active Bystander Skills.


For information, inspiration, and resources for a more vibrant nightlife, visit 24HourNation.


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


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

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