Servers rely heavily on tips to make ends meet. Because of this, many servers think that they have to deal with whatever the diners at their tables do. While they might have to cope with things like a messy table or occasional rudeness, they shouldn’t ever have to deal with sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, many servers don’t feel as though they can speak up when a customer is giving them unwanted sexual attention. Many worry that speaking up will have a negative impact on their tips — or cost them their job.
Widespread sexual harassment in the restaurant industry
The issue of sexual harassment in the service industry is widespread. It’s especially prevalent with the females in the industry. Approximately 71% of women who have worked in restaurants report that they’ve been sexually harassed.
Customers are frequently the source of the harassment servers face, but many women also report being harassed by their superiors or even the owner of the restaurant. The prevalence of sexual harassment is greater for workers who are tipped rather than those who aren’t tipped.
The vast majority of these workers face retaliation if they speak out about the harassment they face. Retaliation is illegal, but it’s still common in the industry. Some common forms of retaliation include cutting the person’s hours or moving them to less desirable sections of the restaurant or reducing the number of tables they wait on each night. Those actions negatively impact a server’s main source of income: Their tips.
Any service industry worker who has faced sexual harassment or retaliation should remember that they can speak up. Working with an attorney may help them to get results when they speak up. Anyone who’s faced this or retaliation has legal rights.