Servers who have to rely on tips to make a living wage are often subjected to behavior from customers that would make some people blush. Lewd comments, sexual innuendos and other unwanted advances plague the servers in the restaurant industry. While those facts might make some people scream that servers should just stand up to rowdy and unruly restaurant patrons, it often isn’t that simple. Our readers in California might find this complex issue rather interesting.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center has released a report that took surveys completed by 688 workers from the restaurant industry into account. It found that workers who rely on tips for a living are dealing with unwanted sexual advances at a higher rate than those who are in non-tipped positions. That rate of sexual harassment is increased in states that have a lower tipped minimum wage.
While this report sheds light on the subject, not everyone is buying into the claims it made. The National Restaurant Association says the report is biased. The report does, however, seem to line up with the fact that more than one-third of the complaints about sexual harassment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives are from workers in the restaurant industry.
Should a tipped employee have to deal with sexual harassment that non-tipped employees would likely report in a second? No, they shouldn’t. Sadly, in order to boost their tips and support themselves, some tipped employees don’t report the unwanted advances. That isn’t acceptable. If you are a tipped employee who has been harassed by a customer or another worker, you can take a stand against the harassment.
Source: The Washington Post, “Does the culture of tipping make waitresses more vulnerable to sexual harassment?” Lydia DePillis, Oct. 17, 2014