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Why is sexual harassment so pervasive in restaurants?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Employment law, Sexual Harassment

Some work environments see more sexual harassment claims than others. If you make your living working in a New York restaurant, you may expose yourself to this type of behavior. Research shows that sexual harassment is a serious problem in U.S. restaurants and that there are several specific reasons why this is the case.

Per NPR, your chance of experiencing on-the-job sexual harassment while working in a restaurant is higher if you are female, with 70% of all female restaurant workers reporting experiencing some type of work-related sexual harassment. Why is this type of behavior so prevalent in restaurant settings?

Restaurant workers often rely on tips

When you rely on tips to make up the majority of your income, you fall somewhat at the mercy of the people you serve. This means you may be unlikely to call out customers who harass you on the job because doing so may cut your income. Many restaurant patrons are aware of this. As a result, they may be more prone to harassing you because they know there is a good chance they are going to get away with it.

Restaurants are often male-dominated

Restaurants have a history of being male-dominated. This may also contribute to the high number of sexual harassment complaints filed by restaurant workers. While you may experience harassment at the hands of customers, you may also experience it from your superiors. When someone in a position of power over you is subject to sexual harassment, you may not speak out about it because you fear experiencing retaliation or losing your job.

Sexual harassment may be quite common in restaurants, but this does not mean you have to take it. Increasingly, women and other victims of sexual harassment are calling attention to this behavior, and in doing so, are helping spearhead widespread industry change.