Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2017

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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The city of Asheville, N.C., was rocked in September of 2015 when it was revealed that the owners of local coffee shop Waking Life Espresso had created a clandestine podcast, blog, and Twitter account for detailing their sexual relationships with women in degrading and demeaning terms. Sarah Winkler, a barista at Waking Life, quit on the spot. "We were all caught off guard," she says. Sarah, along with her friend and fellow barista, Lindsey Pitman, took comfort in action. They met up in the days after the scandal broke and started outlining something that wouldn't just help heal the community, but would send it surging forward. Soon after, Sarah and Lindsey (as well as a partner they have since bought out) opened Trade & Lore, an Asheville café devoted to inclusiveness, equality, and awareness. "I try to keep refl ecting on the positive things that came out of it," Sarah told the Asheville Citizen-Times of the Waking Life scandal. "Although it was an absolutely terrible thing, it brought the community together for a conversation that needed to happen … we want to continue to change that dynamic of misogyny that we discovered is happening in our com- munity." Armed with initiative and an unwillingness to ever let their employees or customers suffer the indignities that the Waking Life owners had caused so many, Sarah and Lindsey met on the porch of Sarah's Ashe- ville house to set their dream of a safe café space to paper. Being harassed at work can be both diffi cult to articulate and nearly im- possible to call out if the place you work isn't ready to hear about it. While your employee manuals might outline a detailed and descriptive harass- ment policy, it means nothing if your employees are afraid to report abuse. One study found that when women reported instances of abuse, almost two-thirds of complaints experienced some form of retaliation — a poor performance review, a snub from a boss, or a missed opportunity within the company. People who complain or point out wrongdoing can become marked for speaking up and saying something, which not only condones the wrong behavior, but also discourages others who are watching to not say anything. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 98 percent of compa- nies in the United States have sexual-harassment policies. Seventy percent of companies provide some sort of sexual-harassment training to employees, and yet there are thousands of sexual-harassment claims fi led to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) every year. Looking specifi cally at the service industry, 66 percent of women report being harassed by a manager, 80 percent by coworkers, and 78 percent by customers. This means that for every two female or female-identifying baristas you meet, one of them has likely been the victim of sexual harassment (and likely both, since underreporting is a huge issue regarding sexual harassment). Why is this happening? Even with policies and standards in place, members of the service industry still experience staggering levels of harassment from all corners—not just from customers, but also from the people they work with and the people who employ them. Simply having a protocol or an open-door policy for reporting everything from uncom- fortable situations to dangerous interactions isn't enough. In this article we'll examine why members of our community don't report harassment—in this context we look to explore harassment on a broad spectrum, and not limiting it to sexual harassment—and, more importantly, what leaders in our industry can do to create safe and hospitable environments for our baristas. "There was this guy who used to come in [the café] and one day he decided he liked me," says Allie*, a barista. "I decided this wasn't a safe Sarah Winkler (le ) and her business partner, Lindsey Pitman, o en work on the front porch of Sarah's Asheville house, where they fi rst came up with the idea for Trade + Lore as a coff eehouse focused on being a safe and inclusive space for staff and customers alike. * Some names have been changed to protect the interviewees' identities 92 barista magazine

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