Restaurant servers: targets of sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Sexual Harassment At Work

Sexual harassment can happen in any line of work. Yet, reports show that employees in the restaurant industry file more claims than in any other industry.

What could explain this statistic? Here is what the report suggests:

There’s a very high percentage of female employees

71% of restaurant servers are female. While sexual harassment can happen to men, women experience more of it. Waitresses are also often younger than their clients or managers. It’s the sort of job many women do while at college or just after graduating. Hence there is a seemingly innate power imbalance that some older people will take advantage of.  

Clients sometimes believe they are paying for the waitress

Some customers feel that leaving a good tip gives them the right to expect more from their server than simply bringing their food and drinks. Servers may also see a direct correlation between what behavior they accept and how big a tip they get. For example, calling out a customer who makes an inappropriate comment might lead to a much smaller tip than smiling sweetly or laughing.

Managers don’t want to upset customers

An unhappy customer might not return. What’s more, they may criticize the restaurant to other people or go online and leave a stinging review. If a manager sees or receives a report that a client is harassing a server, they might avoid taking appropriate action to avoid upsetting the customer. If servers see their manager won’t do anything, they may not bother reporting harassment, allowing it to continue.

Sexual harassment is not acceptable, and employers need to act to stop it. If someone sexually harasses you at work, there may be legal options available.

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