Are Hotel Workers Especially Vulnerable to Sexual Harassment?

Among employees in the United States, service workers are at particular risk of sexual harassment in the workplace. Hotel workers such as housekeepers, waitresses, bartenders, and others who deal with guests are susceptible to inappropriate comments and attention from patrons of the establishment. Owing to the secluded nature of their work, housekeepers in particular are vulnerable to being approached inappropriately by guests in hotel rooms.

Inappropriate Interactions Hotel Housekeepers Experience at Work

A survey of the hotel industry reported that nearly half of all housekeepers reported that they had experienced having a hotel guest answer the door without clothes on or otherwise expose themselves. Other instances of unwelcome sexualized interactions include being propositioned, being asked for a massage, or being groped.

Solutions to Stop Sexual Harassment of Hotel Workers

Employers must ensure that hotel workers have the tools they need to fight back against this kind of unwelcome attention. Employers should educate their staff about how to avoid these situations, deflect inappropriate attention, and respond to harassment head-on.

Employers must empower their employees to take action to keep themselves safe from harassment and other unwanted sexualized interactions by having reporting protocols in place and teaching their staff about their rights to protect themselves.

Leaders and activists in the hotel industry suggest tracking complaints against hotel guests in violation of staff harassment policies and banning them from being served in the future.

Some hotel employers have equipped their staff with silent panic buttons to notify a security guard or an online monitoring system of an unsafe situation that requires assistance. Some panic buttons emit an alarm. These buttons come in the form of a keychain fob, while others are available as a smartphone app.

Other hotel companies have put in place intermittent check-ins with housekeeping staff, verifying their safety every so often, or every time they enter a different guest room. 

Why Hotel Workers Do Not Report Sexual Harassment by Guests

Too often a hotel housekeeper who has been the victim of workplace sexual harassment will opt to let it go unreported. This happens for many reasons. First, a major factor is the belief that mentioning the incident will cause the housekeeper to lose their job. Another reason that may deter them from telling anyone may be that they do not want to relive the traumatic experience, especially if they fear that they may not be believed or that the harasser will get away without repercussions.

Interestingly, the culture of the service industry may be partly to blame for why victims do not report. The mentality that the customer is always right may be what is behind the offender boldly approaching the service staffer in the first place. The service worker, being used to the server-client dynamic, may fall into the pattern of thinking they should simply endure the harmful treatment as part of their job. This can be especially true when the worker’s income is heavily dependent on customer tips.

South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC, Help Those Who Endured Harassment at Work

Sexual harassment is damaging. If your employer allowed you to be subjected to such behavior, you should speak to the South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC. We can help you understand your rights to compensation for the humiliation and repercussions for which your employer failed to protect you. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 856-235-7075 or contact us online for a free consultation. With office locations in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.