The United Workers Union (UWU) and Equal Opportunity SA have called for the Government to implement a set of recommendations arising from a report which showed almost 50 percent of hospo workers had experienced sexual harassment at work.
The report, based on a survey of workers in various hospitality and entertainment venues, found that the vast majority of people who had either experienced harassment, or witnessed it, had not reported the incident because they feared repercussions, such as losing their job.
Disturbingly, 58 percent of respondents who had claimed they had been sexually harassed said their perpetrator was a supervisor.
The report – Hospo’s Harassment Problem – recommendations were mainly centred around tightening workplace health and safety legislation but also included a recommendation to overhaul the Responsible Service of Alcohol certification.
The report and the recommendations can be read here.
UWU coordinator Louise Dillon said the precarious nature of hospitality jobs, coupled with a lack of Government oversight meant sexual harassment and other forms of exploitation were rife in hospo.
“The current system of self-regulation isn’t working and needs to be completely re-thought,” Mrs Dillon said.
“Our experience and our report shows that when hospitality workers are subjected to sexual harassment they are less likely to report. This is often because they don’t think they will be believed, and sexual harassers are often directly employed in positions of power in the workplace.
“Harassment is a risk to safety and wellbeing and the onus should be more explicitly on the boss to provide a safe workplace for all.”
Equal Opportunity Commissioner Jodeen Carney said:
“What has been reported to the UWU is consistent with anecdotal and other reports that have been coming to my office over the last 12 months”.
“I’m particularly supportive of an advisory body to be established, with industry, to work towards identifying solutions so that those who work in the industry have the best experiences they can have”.
“For many, working in hospo is their first job. All of us need to do what we can to ensure their first jobs aren’t their worst.
“I know many in the industry are working hard to develop policies and training for their staff, but too many aren’t. Now is the time for all us to put our shoulders to the wheel to effect change.
“In the meantime, I encourage businesses to join the WE’RE EQUAL initiative my office has developed. Participating businesses make a commitment to provide a safe environment, free from discrimination, bullying or harassment – for their staff, their customers, and their suppliers.”
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]