Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant workers face an unprecedented level of sexual harassment on the job. The harassment happens to both female and male restaurant workers. The harassment comes from co-workers, managers and customers. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, over 35 percent of all the sexual harassment claims come from workers in the restaurant industry. Access to adequate legal representation can help you deal with this situation.

Restaurant Industry, Employer Liability

Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry affects at least 80 percent of the female tipped workers, according to a report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. This astounding figure shows the need for structural change. Until that happens, individual workers must rely on existing legal channels for relief. Sexual harassment lawyers are trained to hold the restaurant industry accountable for creating a hostile work environment that affects both female and male workers at alarmingly high rates. According to the complaints filed at the EEOC, over 55 percent of male restaurant workers complained of sexual harassment by co-workers or customers.

Recognizing Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

Employers have the responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. This includes a variety of behaviors, which might be physical or verbal. The employer has the power to stop the harassment, so the law requires employers to respond appropriately to claims of sexual harassment. This can include sexual joking or requests for sexual favors. The harassment may come from customers or other co-workers, but the employer is ultimately responsible for creating a workplace environment that is free from harassment.

Most cases of sexual harassment involve some kind of power dynamic in which the perpetrator attempts to assert power over the victim. This is why tipped waiters experience the highest rates of sexual harassment. The perpetrator has a perception of power over the tipped server, who relies on the tips in order to make a decent hourly wage. Attempting to stop the harassment directly often opens the person up to retaliation and other forms of verbal abuse.

Legal Recourse for Restaurant Workers

Restaurant workers have rights under local, state and federal laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 may apply to one set of workers, but the Human Rights Law of New York City may apply to another. The size of the business can affect the details of how to handle sexual harassment claim escalation. This means that an employee in a business with four employees or less will need to handle the situation differently than a worker in an organization with more than 15 employees. Our legal team is here to help you take the most appropriate steps that will enable you to win a claim in court.

Types of Sexual Harassment

There are two distinct types of sexual harassment. The first is called the hostile work environment. This is a situation where the people in a position of authority allow derogatory comments, explicitly sexual jokes, verbal abuse and even unwanted physical contact. The harassment is designed to make you feel unwelcome at your job. It can cause you mental anxiety and emotional distress while also impacting your ability to earn a living. The other type of harassment it known as quid pro quo, and this means that sexual favors are required in order to gain some kind of benefit or prevent some kind of retaliation.

Leeds Brown Law Firm

This harassment often gets in the way of your work, and this can be intentionally done to create an intimidating work environment. The law recognizes that these actions can be pervasive and persistent. These conditions constitute a violation of your rights under the law. Local and state laws often offer employees additional protections, and this is something you can discuss with your qualified legal representative. Legal advice is critical when navigating a hostile work environment while establishing a legal claim. Contact Leeds Brown Law today to set up a free consultation.

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