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Anybody deal w/Sexual Harassment

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Does the sexual harassment issue ever surface in your establishment? I have been in restaurants where the kitchens were pretty much like a high-school locker room. Not saying good or bad, just the way it was. I think sometimes the cursing and street talk was a way for the crew to vent. I also have been in places where there was zero tolerance for... well, just about anything. I guess I am wondering how people deal with whatever may (or may not) go in their kitchens.
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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #2 of 15
This is one side of the business that I have seen over and over both in the educational arena and in the professional. It is the sore side of the business in my opinion, and one that I feel often just wasn't taken seriously. Each and everyone of us who has gone through the paces of working your way up to being a chef knows how tough it is. You are constantly driven to work harder, and in the kitchens I worked there was no complaint department. So I think that for women who are trying to come up through the ranks the idea of speaking up to a chef that they are trying to impress is a tough call. I think that there are many many times were instances of sexual harassment go un-noticed because no one speaks up.

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Nicko
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Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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post #3 of 15
Don't even get me started.......
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Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #4 of 15
YIKES!!! Sounds like a touchy subject M brown, but I think it would be a good thing if we can get the female perspective on this issue. But more than just talk about what we have seen and experienced, I think we should try to explore some remedies to this problem in our industry.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #5 of 15
Sexual harassment is not only a violent act it is a means of taking power.

In my experience a student, believe it or not, in a college (a degree granting institution) made a lude gesture to me that was sexual in nature and both demeaning to me (also to his intellegence) and a menover to remove my athority over the class.
This put other students in jepordy because I had to deal with this Jack *** while they were dealing with their first caramelized sugar, handeling knives, using the mixer. (Safty issue.)

Now that was a very mild form of harassment but I hope it illustrated why it can be of harm in a kitchen situation. You are no longer able to deal with sharp, hot, mechanical things when you have to put some jerk in his place, chef or not. And there are people who will not say anything in protest, because they are deeply hurt and don't want to loose thier job. That is why we have laws..........

There are times when you can't just turn around and drop kick some jerk (figurativly of course). When it gets really ugly. Sexual Harassment is illegal. No means no. When someone is uncomfortable and voices thier opinion, it is to be respected.

As far as being a woman in a kitchen full of men, I think I have thick skin when it comes to joking and language and I have not had too many problems because I generally work for talented and respectful people. The language is raunchy yes, but when it comes down to work and working together, there is never a question of respect.

How many men can say they have'nt had "too many problems with sexual harassment"????(for all women it should be none at all.)
I'm curious if you've had any at all. What is a mans view.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I guess one of the perspectives I was looking for, was somebody that has had a charge leveled against them. Specifically, having an allegation of harassment used as a weapon. Unfortunately, I have been on that side of the issue. I certainly understand that there are laws put in place to protect potential/actual victims, however, I think this is one of those laws can be used to do a lot of harm by filing false allegations. The investigation was humiliating and embarassing for me. I felt like the victim my accusser was pretending to be.
Any input?

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #7 of 15
Wow, for someone to charge false allegations, they would have to have a pretty evil edge.

Such a charge can ruin a life.

What happened and what was the outcome Jim?
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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post #8 of 15
Our hotel has a very strict policy on sexual harassment...we were all given a booklet and some of the guidelines are in extreme...you are not for instance allowed to touch someone on the shoulder...now that is a bit different to someone rubbing up against you in a cool room...which one chef is known to do a lot..lewd suggestions are made often...I just ignore them...one of our restaurant supervisors goes through the childish motions of handling the cucumber etc....and I ignore that...as a female I have been brought up amongst some foul language in kitchens and I do think itis a way of letting off steam...but I try and let new chefs know what is acceptable in the kitchen as far as language is concerned...we have had lewd jokes and I think if you are female you can walk away...most of the times the guys will say this ones a bit gross...and I will choose whether to listen or not....I find having females in the kitchen makes the guys a bit more respectful and think twice before they say something lewd or else if they really go for the utmost in profound language they will apologize ....we have had one case of sexual harassment he got a written warning[3 and your're out] we actually had an hour training session on the subject ,when we were given the booklet...most of the things in the booklet chefs do anyway[ not to the extreme] and I think we have achieved a compromise...the worst I have ever seen in kitchens is not sexual harrassment but racial harassment...now that is big!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Basically, it was an unhappy employee that didn't want to work for the company anymore, but wanted money. So, she quit, filed charges and threatened a suit. Needless to say, she was paid, I was investigated (lost about 5 nights' sleep and ended up in the hospital w/chest pains), and I feel like a victim. I had to explain to my family and friends why they may be called to give information about me, including discussing (in detail) the allegations against me.
I felt like (and continue to feel like) a victim. I am still a bit 'withdrawn' from being social. Almost paranoid, at this point.
I think this is a common occurence; I was put in touch with a group of others that were in the same situation as I. Several of them had their cases go further than mine, and as such, some of thier information was made public.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #10 of 15
Most of us in this business walk on very shaky ground. I don't know of any other field where the raunchy, lewd behavior found in restaurants would be tolerated. And it is not only the men. I know numerous women who could make a grown salior cringe with their behavior. But that is this business. Im not making a judgement call here, but this behavior is a part of the business and I don't think you really could eradicate the raunchiness. That is one of the drawing cards of this business for many people. A chance to never have to act like an adult. In some ways I am one of them. I have a sick, twisted sense of humor, and I know it would never be tolerated in the board room. That said, I also have no room for someone who uses sex as a tool to achieve power over someone else. To make sex or even imply that sex is a condition of work is wrong. No one should be subjected to that. This also extends to the people who use sex to advance their careers. I've known waitresses to "give their favors" to managers to ensure that they work only the good shifts or get the good stations. These people are the dregs of this business not Bob, who looks over at Mario, bending down to pull something out of his cooler, and shouts "Boy, you got a really pretty mouth!"
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #11 of 15
It is interesting what M Brown posted about have any men been the brunt of sexual harassment. I have been, and it was not something I would wish on my worst enemy. At the time I had just finished up with culinary school and I was working at my first job as a rounds man. Several guys in the front of the house were homosexual and there were a couple of times that they made advances. We had a community locker room at that place which I think was part of the problem. I felt bad for the women there to because we would all change in the room together. A couple of times when I was changing and had my shirt off one of the homosexual guys would come over and start talking to me and making comments. All in all it was pretty degrading and I really resented that person. I thought it was very wrong of this place to force all of us (men, women, and homosexuals, etc ) to change in the same room together. Although I was a lot bigger and stronger than that dude I just told him to shove off. Believe me I would of loved to smash the guy, but I just didn't think it was worth it. After I told him to leave me alone that was the end of it. I have been approached a couple of more times at other restaurants that I worked at, and kind of just accepted it after awhile that it was the nature of the business. In a weird way I can say it was a good experience because it helped me to better understand what a woman goes through when some jerk is making advances to her.

------------------
Best Regards,

Nicko
nicko@cheftalk.com
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, it appears that this is a 'hot' topic. Thanks for everybody's input.
Having allegations falsely leveled against you for the purpose of doing harm, is not something I wish on anybody!
The best defense... don't EVER give anybody the notion that ANYTHING inappropriate has ever/will ever take place. Curb the 'trash' talk and keep your eyes focused on the food.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #13 of 15
Jim that is the best advise any one could give.
post #14 of 15
I agree 100% Jim. A couple rules I always used to follow were very simple but very helpful, they are the following:
------------------
Thanks,

Nicko
nicko@cheftalk.com
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Those three items you mentioned, Nicko, sum up my entire 3 days of training I had on sexual harassment. I can add one other item... It is not whether you did or didn't, it is whether it APPEARS you did.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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