The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, et al.


This study finds sexual harassment in restaurants is wide-spread and is experienced by all types of workers. The highly sexualized environment in which restaurant workers labor impacts every major workplace relationship, with restaurant workers reporting high levels of harassing behaviors from restaurant management, co-workers, and customers. One of the most powerful findings of this study is the extent to which the industry’s already high levels of sex harassment are exacerbated by systems in which tipped restaurant workers — primarily women — endure legalized pay discrimination in the form of a sub-minimum wage. in states that allow a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, these workers’ hourly wages are so low that they often go entirely to taxes, forcing millions of tipped restaurant workers, the vast majority of whom are women, to live entirely off their tips.


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