Date
21 September 2017
Bar workers live with constant harassment. Temporary workers put up with it in silence for fear of losing their job, according to a survey. Photo: Flickr.com (Francois Rejete)
Bar workers live with constant harassment. Temporary workers put up with it in silence for fear of losing their job, according to a survey. Photo: Flickr.com (Francois Rejete)

Sexual harassment part of bar workers’ everyday life

Sexual harassment is part of the everyday life of Hong Kong’s bar workers, mostly from customers, in the form of touching and offensive comments about their appearance, a study by the Equal Opportunities Commission has found.

The watchdog said there is no sexual harassment policy and relevant training in the bar and club industry and called for amendments to the sex discrimination ordinance to better protect its workers.

The finding follows research into sexual harassment and discrimination among workers in the service industry. Two female employees working in two different bars were interviewed in March 2014 in one aspect of the study.

Another area of the survey, carried out from November 2013 to March 2014, found that one-fifth of 472 respondents had been sexually harassed at work in the past 12 months. About 6 percent said they had either witnessed or heard about complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.

A quarter of the sexual harassment cases were found among workers in the social, personal and community services industry. One-fifth were in the caregiving sector.

The victims were mostly frontline workers who have frequent contact with customers and co-workers.

Part-time or temporary workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment because of their lowly rank. They are less likely to report an incident for fear of losing their job.

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JH/JP/RA 

EJ Insight reporter

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