Several studies have already indicated sexual harassment as a factor in professional and personal decline of the industry’s employees. Rospenda’s (2002) study indicated a significant correlation of alcoholism and victims of sexual harassment. There is also evidence that sexual harassment has contributed to the incidence of depression, severe anxiety, discrimination and gender negativity (Rotundo et al, 2001; Wiener & Hurt, 2000). It has also required significant resources for employers to address issues and is challenging management flexibility and competency (Fernandez, 2007; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2000).Russell and Trigg (2004) reflect that the issue is not just about monitoring, prevention or addressing cases. They believe that there is a need to first develop insights regarding the social context of sexual harassment.
In doing so, factors affecting perception and tolerance of sexual harassment can be assessed effectively which will make interventions and prevention more relevant to the hospitality industry (“Sexual harassment studied”, 2001; Fitzgerald et al, 2001). Bourgeois and his associates (2003), as well as Ramson (2006) highlight that sexual harassment as a social issue but at the same time, unique to each industry or population. Hospitality industries require close interaction with clients, which leaves either party vulnerable to sexual harassment.Sexual harassment is a critical issue in any industry. However, the hospitality industry is particularly vulnerable because of the nature of the service it provides which requires close interaction with clients (Allen et al, 2005). The hospitality industry, government and social interest groups have made significant efforts to develop awareness, proper education and the channels to address cases but there are concerns that efforts are still insufficient (Berta, 2005). Thus, there is a need to further study and develop interventions for cases of sexual harassment in the industry.