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Preventing Harassment in the Hospitality Workplace

In our neck of the woods, hospitality is a driving force in our economy. Whether you’re a hotel or a restaurant, the hospitality industry has a diverse group of employees who work with customers directly every day.

Taking a look at any headlines from the past several months and there have been many harassment cases that have been brought to light from nearly every industry. All employees have the right to be free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on gender, race, sexual orientation and several other qualities under the California Fair Employment Housing Act.

In hospitality, however, the risk for harassment isn’t just limited to employee-on-employee interaction. The very customers that you serve could be the ones who put your employees at risk.

Physical or psychiatric injury caused by harassment or discrimination can lead to a potential workers’ compensation claim. Does your business have the appropriate policies in place for non-employee harassment?

In my role as a Professional Workers’ Compensation Advisor, paired with my experience as a WCIRB Test Auditor and carrier audit department manager/supervisor, I like to focus on implementing preventative measures that can keep your business and your employees protected.

It’s devastating to hear reports that the accommodation and food service industries have the highest rates of sexual harassment claims. Whether it’s equipping housekeepers with panic buttons or providing more robust training, you can build a safe environment for your employees.

While preventative measures are very important in these situations, the reporting of harassment needs to be taken just as seriously. I encourage you to foster a culture that makes it easy for reports to be made. That could mean additional training for your management team, because in California every claim is required to be investigated.

The hospitality industry faces unique challenges, but having the right liability and workers’ comp insurance can give you additional peace of mind.

If you want to learn more about how you can reduce your risk, send me an email at:


Mark O'Bryan

Vice President | Los Osos