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Female restaurant workers experience exploitation on many fronts

Sexual harassment is a serious issue in the restaurant industry. More than 90 percent of females working at restaurants have reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment at some point during their employment. The harassment comes from a variety of sources.

Two-thirds of women in the industry report some form of harassment by management. Almost 70 percent of women say they have been harassed by co-workers in the form of lewd comments or sexual teasing.

In addition to harassment at the hands of management, nearly 80 percent of women employed in restaurants say they have been sexually harassed by customers. More than 50 percent of these women reportedly experience this type harassment at least once a week.

Customers are particularly problematic for female wait staff, especially since they must work for tips. In fact, more than 40 percent of women report being propositioned for dates. A third reportedly have been touched and pinched with nearly 20 percent saying such behavior has escalated to groping and kissing.

Although men experience sexual harassment as well, it is usually in reference to their possible sexual orientation. Transgender workers are significant targets of sexual harassment. They are three times more likely to experience harassment in the form of questions about their gender or sexual identity by management.Some transgender workers report being touched, groped or even fired over their gender identification.

Two-thirds of women report fearing that the harassment would get worse if they reported it to management. As a result, more than 60 percent of women simply ignore it.

According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 40 percent of the money people allocate for food, is now spent on restaurants. A stark contrast to that number being just 26 percent in 1970.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry, the advice and counsel of an experienced Michigan employment law attorney may help get you the answers and resolution you deserve.

Source:, "Sexual harassment runs rampant in the restaurant industry," Amanda Marcotte, accessed Feb. 10, 2017

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