Sexual harassment is rife in hospitality industry, acc...

Sexual harassment is rife in hospitality industry, according to preliminary findings of Unite survey

25 January 2018

Union urges workers to take part in #NotOnTheMenu study

Nine out of 10 hospitality workers have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the preliminary finding of a new survey by Unite, the country’s biggest union.

The initial findings of the union’s #NotOnTheMenu survey reveal that of those who had experienced sexual harassment and responded 56.3 per cent said that they had been targeted by a member of the public and 22.7 percent said that they had been harassed by a manager.

Around half of workers who had been harassed said that the experience made them want to leave their job and made them feel unsafe and less confident at work. 

It further reveals that of those surveyed:

  • 84.7 per cent had witnessed sexual harassment of other people.
  • 77 per cent did not know if their workplace had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place.
  • 60 per cent were unsure or lacked faith in their management to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment.

The survey, which has attracted hundreds of responses to date, is running until mid-February. Unite is hopeful that the recent media coverage of the issue inspired by the FT’s undercover investigation will encourage workers in hospitality from across the UK to participate in order to expose and tackle such abuses.  

Charlotte Bence, Unite hospitality coordinator said: “Our preliminary findings make for very uncomfortable reading. It is clear that there’s an urgent need to reinstate the duty to protect staff from third party harassment, scrapped by the government in 2013.

“Time and time again women and men are telling us that sexual harassment is just seen as part of their job. Standards of behaviour can slip when people don’t feel there is a need to be professional and people treat staff in bars, clubs and hotels in ways they wouldn’t dream of doing in other environments.

“One of the most damning initial findings of the survey was the lack of clarity over sexual harassment policy.

“Employers should be ashamed; these are young women in low paying jobs, reporting that the behaviour they’ve experienced has made them feel unsafe. But instead of feeling supported 60 per cent of those that responded were unsure or lacked faith in their management to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment.  

“The hospitality industry needs to sort itself out - adopt a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and treat complaints seriously. 

“Workers worried about inappropriate behaviour at work should join a union to make sure that they are protected. 

“Everyone has a voice and through a union you can be heard.  We urge hospitality workers, take our survey so that we can start tackling this unacceptable behaviour head on.”


For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
Twitter: @unitetheunion
Facebook: unitetheunion1

Note to editors:

Link to Unite #NotOnTheMenu survey

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey