More service industry nightmares: Scottish version

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I work as a drink server during events at a major hotel in the area. A couple of weeks back I was working at a 380-person wedding where the guests were pretty nightmarish even before they came in. A list of things that happened to me:

-Being asked by multiple people how much I cost and what I would do to them for X amount of money
-Having them holler, “sexy,” “big arse,” “hot bitch,” “slag,” and worse at me
-Having multiple men tell me they’d be waiting for me after shift
-Having my crotch grabbed by an unknown assailant fighting my way to the bar to put in an order
-Having one man, who had been bothering me all night and who I had complained about to my boss, grab me by the arm and start stroking my breast while his friends cheered him on
-Having another man “accidentally” caress my butt when I went to put in their order, then yank off my tie and refuse to give it back unless I gave him my number and waited for him at his room after shift, all while trying to yank off my apron as well
-Being told by other customers who saw what happened that I shouldn’t be upset, I should be grateful that I’d be making a lot in tips

As if this weren’t enough, since none of the other girls working were on the floor and therefore they did not have these issues, my complaints were mostly dismissed as me being overly dramatic. I was told by my boss (albeit in a misguided attempt to make me feel better about going back on the floor) that he’d be glad to be called sexy at work, and my shift manager refused to put me behind the bar until after the tie incident, which was 15 minutes before bar close and 7 hours into the shift. Also, none of the people who I complained about were given more than warnings as only “injury” is reason to toss out a problematic guest, and sexual harassment doesn’t count apparently.

Today I had a panic attack at the idea of going back in to work another huge wedding in that environment and was told by the friend who helped me through it that, while it was wrong, the catcalls and whatnot come with the territory so as long as no one else groped me, I should be able to cope since it probably happens all the time.

Yeah. An assault survivor (from 2007) is groped, harassed, and threatened at work but I guess there’s no reason for me to panic because I’m a woman serving people drinks and therefore I should just accept that’s going to happen. And there’s no reason for me to feel safe in my workplace because I’m being hysterical and should feel complimented by all the rude propositions and grabbing. Whoops, I forgot, #MYIF

-Scared To Work, Glasgow

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14 Responses to “More service industry nightmares: Scottish version”

  1. xchx Says:

    I am so so sorry.
    This is so awful, and traumatic in itself even without the stress of a prior assault.

    Its horrifying that they weren’t kicked out, because forcibly touching someone is ILLEGAL! If it were my wedding, I would hope that someone would take control and kick their ass out, since I would be more disturbed to find out later they spent their night harassing the service people.

    You deserve a safe environment, and those assholes don’t deserve to be there if there going to act like that.

  2. jesurgislac Says:

    I really want to know what company is letting their staff be treated like this. It’s ugly, and I want to know so I can tell people they shouldn’t book their weddings at this place.

    • popesuburban Says:

      I don’t know where you are, but this kind of thing is standard in American workplaces. The idea that it happens elsewhere is both disgusting and unsurprising to me. I wish the people sharing these stories could share names too, but unfortunately, telling the truth about your employer’s terrible policies will likely just get you fired.

  3. flossiesdoll Says:

    Please, please, join the appropriate union and get protection for yourself.

  4. skyhawkmkiv Says:

    What. The. Fuck. I can’t believe this all happened at one event. Wow. Still reeling from reading this one.

  5. hollymar Says:

    Oh my god, that’s HORRIBLE. Even not taking your assault into account – them touching you was ASSAULT. I second the advice to find an appropriate union.

  6. sitakali Says:

    I can’t believe that none of the people you asked for help actually helped you! Next they’ll be throwing stones at you for showing your ankles and your friends will tell you it’s for your own good.

  7. atozinco Says:

    How horrific! If it had been me going through all that, I probably would have wanted to grab the microphone & yell loudly at the guys… (but then, I’m too shy).

    If your company (and manager) won’t take sexual harassment seriously, what hope do we have in the average Joe taking sexual harassment seriously (and NOT doing it)?

  8. bright24 Says:

    That is an absoute nightmare, and I’m so sorry you went through all that.
    I was treated similarly when I worked bars/pubs, and was told over and over that I was overreacting, but I wasn’t and you aren’t.
    Here’s a feminist take on sexual harassment of women servers at work illustrating just how ridiculous the excuses are! I hope it makes you laugh, Scared in Glasgow, and I hope you can find a sympathetic superior (aka a human being) at work to speak to about your justified, reasonable, rational fears of harassment and assault while working.

    http://tigerbeatdown.com/2010/09/28/this-week-in-sexual-harassment-defenses-but-have-you-noticed-you-are-hot-though/

  9. ninestraycats Says:

    fucked up, fucked up, fucked up….

  10. scrivener212 Says:

    They were wrong, all of them, and you are right. You have the right to feel safe at work. If you don’t; if they won’t provide safe conditions for you and help you to explain that your job is not that of sex toy, then that isn’t the job for you. You deserve much better.

    Have you thought of writing this up for local newspapers and blogs? People ought to start talking about things like this at home before they go to events like weddings and treating girls like shit. Maybe also post to wedding blogs?

  11. kawaiikoganeirochan Says:

    That’s not right. Just because you work in a certain place does not mean you are asking or looking for it, and DEFINITELY doesn’t mean that you should ever ‘get used to it.’ Sexual harassment is sexual harassment, period. The fact that even your boss ignored that is sick. I’m terribly sorry that this ever had to happen to you.

  12. piewackett1 Says:

    I’m so fucking mad for you.
    I lived in NYC and worked in professional kitchens as a chef
    and the male overlords said the same stupid insane inappropriate illegal useless shit in the ’80’s as they do to you now.
    When you are young there is no real safe recourse other than to have inherited a great deal of money.
    Have there been any successful lawsuits in Scotland for job related sexual harassment? I’m not suggesting you sue, as it takes too much money, but I was always taunted by the assholes that harassing I should sue if I was so bothered by their comments and actions. Anita Hill changed much when she testified against Clarence Thomas. (the idiot pig on our Supreme Court)
    Anyway I am sorrier than I can say and I hope you find a better job. Soon. Maybe some nice customer will have one?

  13. supercaley Says:

    This makes me so angry! I used to manage a hotel in Scotland, and I would never have tolerated that kind of behaviour towards my staff. It’s been a couple of months, so I really hope you’re in a better place now, but if not, PLEASE do something about it. Your employers have a duty to protect you from sexual harrassment and discrimination. It’s absolutely outrageous that your manager expects you to put up with that kind of treatment. If you still work there, make a formal complaint, and if they don’t rectify the issue, you are well within your rights to take them to an employment tribunal. Contact Citizens Advice Bureau and they can help to arrange free legal aid for you. I know it sounds scary, but your employers need a massive kick up the arse, and if you’re the one who does it you’ll feel so proud of yourself! (I know because I’ve done it) Good luck!

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