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High Rates of Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

Irvine labor lawyerTipped workers like restaurant servers or waitresses, are at a much higher risk of sexual harassment. According to a new study, 4 out of 5 women in the restaurant industry experience some form of sexual harassment from their customers. The report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, found that women who work in the restaurant industry and live entirely off tips, or mostly off tips were much more likely to face harassment, compared to those who earned a healthy minimum wage in addition to tips.

In those states, where a minimum wage of $2.13 is allowed, the report found that women were twice as likely to be victims of sexual harassment, and also much more likely to face pressure from the restaurant management to make themselves more attractive to customers. For these women, working attire consists of revealing clothes that are meant to attract customers to the restaurant, and attract higher tips. In fact, the researchers found that there was a very direct association between the amount of money that a waitress could make from tips, and her appearance. The more beautiful or attractive waitress, the more attractive she is to a customer, and the higher her income because of the heavier tips and increase revenues.

According to the report, as many as 74% of women who work in the restaurant industry have been victims of sexual harassment from a co- worker. About 62% of the women reported such sexual harassment at least once every week. If you are facing complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace, consult with an Irvine labor lawyer.

According to the report, the only way to reduce the risk of sexual harassment involving female restaurant workers is to increase the minimum wage, and reduce their on tips as the main source of income. Often, these women are afraid to report such harassment because of the fear they will be moved to poor work shifts which means fewer tips. Earning fewer trips means a very low weekly paycheck.

Employers would do well to take reports of sexual harassment seriously, when complaints are made against coworkers or customers. As an employer, you are liable when a customer, vendor or other third-party makes sexual advances or inappropriate advances toward an employee, and you fail to take action. Speak to a Irvine labor lawyer about how you can handle an employee complaint about sexual harassment.

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