The Elephant in the Room: The Accidental Prostitution of Hospitality Service Workers

Waudy, B
Poulston, J
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Conference Contribution
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School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University

This study investigates sexual harassment in hospitality work, by interviewing women working in customer service roles. It explores their experiences and views on sexual harassment in hospitality service work. Semi-structured interviews were used to understand the relationship between women's experiences and their views of harassing behaviours, as well as influences on the incidence of harassment. Findings showed that participants cooperated with harassing behaviours because of their role view, and that older women were less prone to harassment, mostly because they were more skilled at rejecting unwanted advances. The study concludes by outlining management's responsibility to prevent harassment by recognising the assumptions implicit in servers' roles. These assumptions effectively prostitute the innate skills of young women who are keen to please management and customers, but not at the risk of assault and abuse.

In: Wilson, E (Editor); Witsel, M (Editor). CAUTHE 2015: Rising Tides and Sea Changes: Adaptation and Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality. Gold Coast, QLD: School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, 2015: 761-765.
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