We are not on the menu

It is Christmas time again and Nordic hotel and restaurant workers have a message for you: WE ARE NOT ON THE MENU!

Christmas is fast approaching, and with it all the end of year workplace festivities. It’s a time of year when we can relax, enjoy each other’s company and a couple of cold beverages. Sometimes it’s all too easy to let the merriness go to our heads and allow inappropriate behavior to get swept under the rug.

Christmas parties are normally positive occasions, held to celebrate the festive season and the end of a year of hard work. There is, however, a darker side to these events where overuse of alcohol, and inappropriate behavior can create a workplace hazard. 

Therefore, hotel, restaurant, catering and tourism workers in all the Nordic countries are again speaking out about inappropriate behaviors that are all too frequent at gatherings around Christmas. During this period hotel and restaurant workers are extremely likely to face unwanted sexual advances such as groping and inappropriate comments from drunk customers. We want to remind everyone of the fact that hotel and restaurant workers are not part of the menu. 

We are speaking out and expressing that we are not on the menu

Hotel and restaurant workers in the Nordic countries are for the second year organizing a joint campaign to raise awareness around sexual harassment against personal during the Christmas period. By initiating this campaign, we want to create a culture of zero tolerance against harassments at work.

Nobody should have to endure any kind of violations at work. It is foremost the employer, who is responsible for preventing unpleasant behavior or sexual harassments in the work environment. We are all responsible actors. As guests, it is essential to be courteous and behave appropriate towards workers. As work mates, we should support those who regardless are being harassed.

Together we can draw a line

Sexual harassment is part of everyday life for many people in the hotel and catering industry. It is never acceptable, and nobody should be subjected to it. Sexual harassment affects people regardless of age, relationship, ability, physical appearance, background or professional status. Sexual harassment does not affect women alone: men can also be victims. However, the victims often have characteristics that make them vulnerable in the labour market, such as young women in temporary position that are unlikely to report sexual harassment out of fear of losing their job.

Nordic hotel and restaurant workers are optimistic that if we all join hands it is possible to create a culture of zero-tolerance in the industry. We see that more and more workplaces are waking up and implementing preventive measures and codes of conduct that sends a clear signal to customers what kind of behavior will not be tolerated (see attached article).

In Norway the social partners in the hospitality industry are jointly running campaigns to raise awareness and training employers and employees how to implement preventive measures and policies how to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace. As part of that initiative six important measures to prevent and deal with sexual harassment at the workplace have been developed:

1. Identify risks
Employers should in cooperation with the employees, map what risks are at their workplace and implement preventive measures

2. Code of conduct
All companies should develop common rules for behavior in the workplace and inform all employees about these rules

3. Routines for handling
All workplaces should design clear policies how to report sexual harassment and how the incidents should be and inform all employees about these policies.

4. Inappropriate behavior must have consequences
Violation of policies and guidelines should lead to reactions for those who harass, irrespective if this is a co-worker, guests or a manager.

5. Clear leadership responsibility
All workplaces must designate a clear message who is responsible for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment complaints

6. Talk about sexual harassment
Employers and employees should talk about sexual harassment and harassment at the workplace


Nordisk Union
C/o 3F
Kampmannsgade 4
1790 København V

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+45 88 92 13 63
+45 88 92 13 54
[email protected]


The Nordic Union for Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourism sector, is an association of unions in Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all of which unionise workers of the HRCT industry. The member unions have all made collective agreements with employers organizations and companies in the NU HRCT.

All in all NU HRCT covers seven unions with a total of about 115,000 members.