The CBS sitcom “Two Broke Girls” depicts the plight of two young waitresses and their various adventures as they go through life. However, like many TV sitcoms, the real life exploits of a waitress are not so funny or glamorous. In fact, waitresses may have more to deal with than most people know beside collecting tips.
According to a study produced by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (RECUNITED), female wait staff report many more instances of sexual harassment compared to women in other industries. Specifically, waitresses reported five times as many complaints than women in other occupations. Given how waitresses constantly struggle with wage discrepancies and the disadvantages that come with them, it is unfortunate (and not surprising) that so many women deal with harassment in the restaurant industry.
This also suggests that the tips that waitresses receive are not just an additional “thank you” for stellar service. They could be atonements for bad behavior from patrons.
Nevertheless, a woman should not have to endure harassment from the opposite sex in order to make a living. Even more important is the prevention of such behavior in the workplace. If an employer has actual knowledge of sexual harassment complaints, they are bound to take reasonable steps to address them. If an employer fails to do so, it could be held liable. In these instances, sexual harassment can morph into sex discrimination claims.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, an experienced employment law attorney can advise you of your rights and options.