Bartenders at Increased Risk for Sexual Harassment

Illinois sexual harassment attorneysIn recent years, sexual harassment and other types of sexual misconduct have taken center stage in the American public’s consciousness. A number of high-profile Hollywood personalities, comedians, politicians, and other figures have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and more.

Sexual harassment, however, is not limited to celebrities. In fact, it is probably taking place at a bar or restaurant near you—possibly even your own workplace.

A Dangerous Profession

According to various studies, bartenders are extremely vulnerable to non-fatal, on-the-job violence—the third-most of any profession. Only law enforcement officers and those who work in security-related jobs are more at risk. Unfortunately, a large portion of such violence is linked to sexual harassment.

Bartenders are especially prone to sexual harassment for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the consumption of alcohol and the loose, party-like environment that exists in many establishments create an atmosphere that is conducive to sexual harassment. Alcohol, for many people, is a social lubricant that decreases inhibitions, especially in regard to sexual behavior. Bartenders are also typically friendly, outgoing, and perhaps even a little flirty, all of which can be construed by a drunk patron as an open invitation for sexual advances.

While some bars and restaurants require their staff members to complete training regarding sexual harassment, including all establishments in the state of Illinois, many more do not. The reality is that, in spite of whatever formal training may be required, many bartenders and servers simply view enduring sexual harassment—particularly by customers—as part of their jobs.

A Unique Approach

Safe Bars is an education and training program based in Washington, D.C. that helps bartenders and other staff members recognize and stop sexual violence—both when it is directed at them and when it is focused on customers. The program emphasizes “bystander training” by encouraging staff members who see something to do something. This approach has been shown to be more effective at stopping sexual harassment than conventional training.

Unlike other forms of sexual harassment, the type of harassment that occurs most often in bars happens in the presence of many other people. This means that there are many bystanders with the power to address the situation. “We all, I believe, are bystanders as often as every day,” said Lauren Taylor, the director of Safe Bars, “no matter where we are, a bar or somewhere else.”

A Chicago Sexual Harassment Attorney Can Help

At MKFM Law, we recognize that sexual harassment is completely unacceptable under any conditions. We provide guidance to victims and work to bring perpetrators of sexual misconduct to justice. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, contact an experienced Illinois sexual harassment lawyer for guidance on what you should do next. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation with a compassionate member of our team today.



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