A significantly high number of employed women work in vulnerable work environment. Waitresses’ working in the hospitality sector experience different kind of work-related abuse. This study aims to explore waitresses work related abuse and its coping mechanisms in the hospitality sector in Bahirdar city, Ethiopia. A descriptive phenomenological study was conducted to describe the lived experience of waitresses in the work environment. Data were collected through an in-depth interview with waitresses. Participants of the study were selected by non-probability sampling. The collected data were inductively coded and developed into themes. Different kinds of data quality assurance mechanisms were employed to increase the trustworthiness of the study. The study finding shows that sexual, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse, physical health problems, work-family conflict, low wage are the major work-related challenges that waitresses experience related to their work environment. As coping mechanisms, waitresses reporting to their manager, getting help from co-workers and managers, tipping, and wearing fake rings are mentioned. Work related abuse in hospitality workplace is widely experienced by waitresses. A hospitality work environment policy to regulate waitresses’ relation with customers, employers, managers, and co-workers should be developed. The existing national and international labor proclamations should be implemented on the ground. Moreover, pre-service, and in-service training about how they can deal with stressful situation are needed.


descriptive phenomenology, coping mechanism, waitresses, work related abuse

Author Bio(s)

Kidus Yenealem, Gebremeskel Mesafint Dessie and Wossen Lulie are lecturers in Mizan-Tepi University. The first and the third authors are specialists in working with children, youth and family serving in the department of social work, whereas the second author is a psychiatrist. Please direct correspondence to the first author at yenealemkidus@gmail.com.


We would like to send our regards to participant waitresses, employees of Bahirdar city and Amhara region labor and social affairs office. Finally yet importantly, we thank the data collectors and supervisor without whom the research would not be done.

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