New research indicates some stunning statistics in regard to sexual harassment in the food service industry. Studies have found that female workers have to deal with even greater rates of sexual harassment.
According to a recent study of restaurant workers, 90 percent of female employees have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The Restaurant Opportunities Centers and the advocacy group, Forward Together, conducted the study in which they polled nearly 700 former and current employees. The employees collectively worked in 39 states, including New York.
The problem of sexual harassment is particularly prevalent among restaurant workers for a number of reasons. Most notably, the nature of this employment generally consists of tip-based compensation. This means that workers are often in the position of having to tolerate behavior without complaint in order to be sure they get paid. If patrons make lewd comments to female workers, the employees are faced with the dilemma of either putting up with it or complaining and seeing it come out of their bottom line. This is especially true in many states that set the sub-minimum wage at $2.13 an hour for tip-based employees. While New York has a higher cash plus tip wage of $8 an hour, employees are still largely dependent upon their tips in order to earn a living wage.
While patrons are a large part of the problem, sexual harassment is not limited to customers, from whom 78 percent of workers had experienced this behavior. In fact, the study showed that restaurant management harassed 66 percent of workers and 80 percent of these workers experienced sexual harassment from co-workers.
You should not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have been the victim of ongoing sexual harassment, you may have a claim against your employer. Consult the experienced employment law attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York.