Sexual harassment plagues every industry, and the restaurant industry is no exception. However, this story of stalking and subsequent taunting from a Pennsylvania Chili’s is particularly bad — not only because of how far it went, but also because of how the victim had absolutely no backup from her coworkers.
Emily Houser ultimately took her story to Buzzfeed News, and it’s fairly awful. She started working at a Chili’s in Whitehall, PA, as a 16-year-old and her 24-year-old manager, Josh Davidson, took an immediate interest in her — leveraging his position to demand she go out on dates. It continued for two years, leading to this brazen disregard for any personal boundaries:
“On my 18th birthday, he showed up to my high school in the parking lot and just kind of rampaged me with gifts and asked me to officially be his girlfriend in front of a bunch of people. I said no, and he replied in a very pompous way, saying he didn’t care if he got fired if we were together, and he didn’t care if he lost his job because he just wanted to be with me.”
Houser finally got Davidson to stop, only to notice he was targeting another girl, so she put in her two weeks’ notice and called Chili’s corporate. They investigated and decided the problem was that her manager was located in Whitehall, and transferred him to Montgomery, PA. On his last day, her former coworkers held a “F*** Emily Houser” party, complete with a cake. The party was even attended by Davidson’s boss.
Needless to say, once the story managed to get some steam behind it, Chili’s began handing out pink slips:
It’s not clear how many people lost their jobs over this, but the uproar is unlikely to be done quite yet. Hopefully, as these stories gain mainstream attention, the conversation around sexual harassment can continually evolve and grow, with ultimate respect for all victims.
“I don’t want any personal gain from this whatsoever,” Houser told Buzzfeed. “I just want the people that were involved to understand what they are doing, and what they did to someone. I just want them to stop, because this is the kind of thing that people commit suicide over.”