The restaurant industry has more sexual harassment claims than any other sector in the United States. This could be due to several factors including the customer is always right culture and the disproportionate number of men in management positions. A waitress is also less likely to report harassment because of the customer driven pay scale.
Can an employer be liable if a waitress is harassed by a customer?
Employers can be held liable for sexual harassment when a customer harasses a waitress. For example, in Lockhard v. Pizza Hut, when a manager failed to take action after an employee filed complaint against a customer. The manager ignored the existing corporate policy to tell the customer to stop harassing the waitress or other employee. If the customer continues to harass the waitress, the employer must inform the customer to leave.
What is sexual harassment?
An employer is responsible for protecting employees from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes both sexual advances and unwanted discrimination or comments on the basis of gender. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, supervisor of another area, co-worker, or clients or customers.
How to file a harassment claim?
The waitress should look to the company sexual harassment policy and file with the appropriate complaint. When investigating allegations of sexual harassment the EEOC looks to the entire record. This includes: the circumstances, such as nature of sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents happened. The court considers the specific facts and circumstances of each allegation on a case-by-case basis.
Get Legal Assistance
If you are a waitress or other restaurant employee who has faced sexual harassment at work the New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help you. Please call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, OR contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent all clients in Middletown, Cherry Hill, and throughout New Jersey.