Our NYC sexual harassment lawyers have learned of a new survey that reveals 90% of female restaurant workers have endured harassment on the job. Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center United, released the shocking report, “The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry,” which unveils some unsettling statistics.
ROC and fellow advocacy group, Forward Together, surveyed nearly 700 current and former restaurant workers in 39 states, including New York. Restaurant workers reported high levels of harassing behaviors: 66 percent from restaurant management; 80 percent from co-workers; and 78 percent from customers.
The report attributes some of the industry’s acceptance of sexual harassment to the culture of tipping. Some women feel compelled to put up with harassment for fear of losing out on crucial tip money.
“The culture of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry isn’t an accident,” said Ms. Jayaraman. “We can point directly to the sub-minimum wage and the fact that the majority of people living off tips are women and their take-home pay is inextricably linked to enduring vile behavior from customers, co-workers, and bosses.”
In states such as New York, most restaurant workers earn $2.13 per hour from their employers. Most, if not all, of those wages, are gone before the employee even sees the money – that income goes mainly towards paying taxes. Instead, servers, bartenders, bussers, and food runners rely almost 100% on tips for their income.
According to the study, servers, bartenders, and others relying on tips were three times more likely to be told by management to be “sexier” and wear more revealing clothing. They were also instructed to accept sexual harassment as “kitchen talk.”
The report also states that women who begin their working lives being sexually harassed in a restaurant are more likely to accept sexual harassment in future workplaces.
If you reported sexual harassment by a customer and the management ignored you, you might be able to pursue legal action against your employer, depending on the specific circumstances. Victims of workplace harassment by supervisors and co-workers may also be entitled to compensation under the law. Let one of our sexual harassment lawyers in NYC assist you if you have been violated.
The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. For further information, please feel free to call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.