When it comes to sexual harassment, women who work in the restaurant industry remain vulnerable. An estimated seven percent of all women make their living as a waitress or hostess, but they make up nearly of 40 percent of all sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to Marlton sexual harassment lawyers, the true number of victims is likely even higher. Since women who work in the restaurant industry are almost entirely financially dependent on tips, they may be disinclined to report inappropriate touching, jokes, or remarks customers make.
To that end, a new study of nearly 700 restaurant workers by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United confirms that more than half of women who work in the restaurant industry experience sexual harassment on at least a weekly basis. Moreover, the rate at which sexual harassment occurs in restaurants correlates directly with the geographic location of victims. States – such as California, Oregon and Washington – which require employers to pay restaurant workers a full minimum wage report lower incidents of sexual harassment than states which provide restaurant workers a sub-minimum hourly wage of just $2.13. Accordingly, restaurant workers in states such as New Jersey and Virginia are twice as likely to experience sexual harassment.
Managers and Sexual Harassment
Marlton sexual harassment lawyers note that customers are not the only threat facing those who work in the restaurant industry. A majority of women and half of all men polled by ROC United reported sexual harassment by restaurant owners, managers, and supervisors. Moreover, even when restaurant owners, managers, and supervisors do not engage in sexual harassment they may encourage members of their workforce to sexualize their appearance, or downplay complaints of sexual harassment customers make.
Women who have been repeatedly exposed to sexual harassment in the restaurant industry may resign themselves to sexual harassment in other settings according to ROC United. Even after switching professions, ROC United maintains that women who worked previously as a tipped restaurant worker are more than one-and-a-half times more likely to live with unwanted touching or sexual suggestiveness in the workplace than those who have no history of working in a tipped occupation.
Marlton Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Restaurant Workers
Employees who receive tips are not fair game for sexual harassment. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual harassment while working in the restaurant industry, contact the Marlton sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Fighting back against sexual harassment not only improves the work environment for a victim, but also his or her coworkers. Complete this online questionnaire or call our Red Bank, New Jersey offices at 732-842-6500 or our Marlton, New Jersey offices at 856-985-9800 to learn how we can help.