Editor’s Note: This e-mail is published with permission from the author and his wife. Contact information for the restaurant is posted below if you’d like to call or write to them to voice your displeasure with their stance on the acceptability of employees harassing customers!!
My wife and I went to a local(Charlotte, NC) restaurant last evening and while we were waiting for a table my wife was sexually harassed by several members of the kitchen/wait staff. The staff seemed to be almost completely male except for the woman taking names for tables at the front.
My wife used the restroom which is located very close to the kitchen area and is kind of open. On the way going in and coming out of the bathroom several male staff members whistled at her, made obscene gestures and made lewd comments(primarily in Spanish). My wife is Mexican and speaks fluent Spanish and I speak some myself. I don’t know if they didn’t realize she would understand or what but the whistling and gestures they made are pretty clear in any language. I did not see this behavior as it happened but my wife indicated it was loud enough for other restaurant patrons to notice. Needless to say she was very shaken up.
I confronted one of the staff members she pointed out and asked him if he said the things she accused him of and surprisingly not only did he admit he did but told me he didn’t feel it was a big deal. He left and within a minute or so much of the staff was grinning at us and purposely making things very uncomfortable. We obviously decided we would not be dining there anymore but I felt it important to let management know. When I spoke to the manager his response was the most surprising of all. He explained to me that this happens regularly and while he was sorry we were offended it “was all in good fun”. I asked him if he thought it was acceptable for male members of his staff to treat female customers in such a way and he responded that it was “just the way it is.”
He invited us to leave if we were unhappy with the way his staff behaved, which we did but are disgusted that such behavior would not only go on in the open at a public establishment but seemingly be encouraged by management. We have dined at this restaurant before and had no such problems and this is not a bar or club or anything like that but a sushi restaurant. Not that this is acceptable behavior in any setting.
Charlotte, NC 28203