Sexual harassment is a serious issue that limits the success of certain individuals through no fault of their own. Someone facing unwanted advances from a supervisor or co-worker will typically have a way to report that misconduct and protect themselves.
This can be frightening, especially if the person harassing you is in a position of professional or financial authority. Unwanted sexual advances, crude jokes and other forms of sexual harassment don’t always come from the people you work with at your company.
Many employees, especially those in customer service or sales, could find themselves subject to abusive harassment by their customers or clients.
No one should encourage you to tolerate or ignore harassment to make money
There are some individuals who will leverage any amount of authority or control over someone else for their personal gain. A customer who gets to determine how much of a tip you receive or a client who could choose not to finish the sale with your company is someone that you have an interest in keeping happy.
However, trying to close the sale or earning a gratuity should not require that you compromise your morals or put up with a toxic or hostile environment. Regardless of what job you have, you should not have to endure unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate jokes or comments, or someone touching you without your consent.
How a company can take action
Even if the person abusing you is a patron in a restaurant or a manager at a company that your business supplies products for, your employer should take steps to protect you when you report the harassment. Reporting client or customer sexual harassment to the appropriate parties according to your company’s policy should result in immediate action.
A manager at a restaurant could have a male server take over at a table of aggressive customers who were touching their female server. They could also ask those customers to leave. In more professional environments, a supervisor or manager may need to contact the other company involved and advise them of the inappropriate behavior of the person harassing you.
Workplace sexual harassment takes many forms, and no one should have to endure it. Employers have a responsibility to their staff to protect them from hostile work environments and harassment, regardless of who causes them.