Enjoyment, tolerance, or rejection: responses to sexuality in the workplace

Poulston, J
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Conference Contribution
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Council for Hospitality Management Education (CHME)

Sexual harassment in hospitality workplaces is endemic, with more hospitality employees reporting incidences of harassment than in any other private sector industry. Various causes are proposed, but the sexualisation of hospitality labour, exacerbated by the blurred demarcation lines between flirtation, harassment and assault, seems the most likely. This paper explores the common features of sexually charged working environments, and presents qualitative data collected from hospitality workers, revealing a wide range of attitudes to sexual behaviour at work. A model is suggested to help managers and staff identify areas of disagreement about sexual behaviour, rather than merely imposing a proscriptive approach, which is neither achievable nor necessarily desirable. Recommendations for reducing harassment focus on the concept of choosing to either sanction or reject specific behaviours at work.

19th Annual CHME Research Conference, Horsley Towers, Surrey, England
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