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Forms of Harassment on Cruise Ships

Submitted by kgnadmin on

Cruise ship crew members appear to have the ideal job: engaging in work they are passionate about, living in a multicultural environment, traveling the world, and getting paid for it. However, this might not always be the case.

In some instances, it's crucial to research the cruise ship company you're applying to, as the global standing and reputation play a significant role in crew safety and harassment cases. Unfortunately, some companies exploit the benefits of flags of convenience, working employees excessively hard and paying them inadequately, especially those from countries like India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Being aware of your company's employment policies can significantly reduce the chances of unpleasant surprises on your first day.

Bullying and harassment are prevalent, particularly for new cruise ship chefs. Harassment can stem from any behavior making work difficult, and tolerating it is often seen as a condition for continued employment. Individuals can be targeted based on religion, heritage, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical appearance. Sexual harassment is also a concern, affecting both women and men.

Recognizing harassment is crucial, and guidelines suggest keeping a detailed journal of any incidents. Having witnesses strengthens your case, and their cooperation is valuable. The first step in dealing with harassment is notifying the perpetrator that the behavior is unacceptable. If the behavior persists, escalate the issue to a supervisor or higher management. It's essential to remain professional in your report, sticking to facts, and requesting a resolution.

Cruise ship companies usually have strict guidelines regarding harassment, encouraging crew members to report incidents. Knowing what constitutes harassment according to your company is crucial when filing a complaint. However, it's vital to note that cruise ship companies take both harassment cases and false claims seriously, subjecting all cases to thorough scrutiny and investigation, which may lead to disciplinary action, including discharge.

What is Bullying?

Bullying, a form of harassment, involves hostile or vindictive behavior that makes the recipient feel threatened or intimidated. It creates a work environment where individuals or groups may become discouraged or threatened due to negative or hostile behavior. Bullying may misuse power or position and is often persistent and unpredictable, ranging from vindictive and malicious to unintentional unawareness of its impact.

Examples of Bullying

Bullying can manifest in various ways, including:

Verbal or physical threats, shouting, swearing, derogatory or stereotyped statements.

Personal insults, belittling, or ridiculing in private or in front of others.

Sudden rages or displays of temper, often for trivial reasons.

Unnecessary excessive supervision, monitoring, or persistent unjustified criticism.

Making unreasonable demands, setting demeaning tasks, or taking away responsibilities without justification.

Ignoring or excluding individuals from social events, meetings, or discussions.

Making threats or inappropriate comments about career prospects, job security, or performance appraisal.

Spreading rumors or insulting someone based on various characteristics.

Shunning and rebuffing integration efforts if someone is believed to 'not fit in.'

Hidden Bullying Excuses

Excuses may be made to define or refer to hidden bullying situations, such as:

Strong or robust management styles.

Describing a working relationship as a 'personality clash.'

Labeling someone as 'over-sensitive' or 'unable to take a joke.'

Describing someone as having an 'attitude problem.'

A manager with 'low tolerance for non-safety critical mistakes made unintentionally.'

Making fun of someone who has made a minor mistake at work.

The company should treat all harassment and bullying complaints seriously and confidentially. Senior officers and personnel managers are trained to handle such complaints, and victims should feel encouraged to report incidents without fear of retaliation, provided the complaint is genuine. The victim's perception of any actions is what matters, and the company should thoroughly investigate every reported issue.

Crew Insights

Articles and experiences shared by crew members working on cruise ship. Find out more about ship life at sea together with tips and advices for first time crew members and cruise oldtimers.