While the media initially reported heavily on sexual harassment in the entertainment industries, in academia, and in tech, only recently have instances of high-profile sexual harassment in the restaurant industry come to light. While the accusations that make headlines have been those that are made against celebrity chefs, sexual harassment is an issue in that has impacted all areas of the restaurant industry—from small local restaurants, restaurant chains, and high-end fine dining establishments. In one high-profile case reported by the New York Times, Ken Friedman of the Spotted Pig in New York City has been ordered to pay $240,000 to eleven former employees and also required to share his profits with the victims. In the complaint, former employees claim that they were touched inappropriately by Friedman and restaurant guests. When women reported these instances, they were either fired or were blacklisted among industry influencers. While high-profile cases get all the headlines, the Harvard Business Review reports that more sexual harassment claims are filed in the restaurant industry above any other industry, and that 90% of women and 70% of men reported suffering some form of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry can come from many places. Workers might be harassed by managers or chefs, co-workers, or even customers. Restaurant owners have a responsibility to put measures in place to protect workers in all these instances. Women are often placed in positions as servers, where they may be young and inexperienced and may not always know what steps they can take if they face sexual harassment from managers, co-workers, and customers. What can you do if you’ve faced sexual harassment or assault at your restaurant job? Moore & Associates is a sexual harassment law firm in Houston, Texas that may be able to help you.
What You Can Do If You’ve Faced Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry
Sexual harassment should never be part of the job if you are a restaurant worker. You do not have to endure sexual harassment at the hands of a co-worker or customer. Restaurant owners have a responsibility to take steps to protect their workers from sexual harassment. In fact, restaurants that fail to enforce anti-sexual harassment policies can face lawsuits from their workers if they fail to take steps to protect them. Harvard Business Review notes that restaurants can implement a two-warning policy. If a customer sexually harasses a server, the customer can first receive a warning, and if the customer continues the behavior, he or she should be asked to leave. This protects workers and gives workers a way to report sexual harassment to superiors and see results. Within the organization itself, restaurants should also have a system where sexual harassment by workers and managers can be reported.
Understanding what constitutes sexual harassment is also important. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can include unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or sexual behavior which can impact a person’s ability to work. Sexual harassment occurs when sexual conduct is requested in exchange for a job or work opportunity, or where behavior occurs repeatedly and in such a pervasive manner as to create issues on the job. A co-worker asking another on a date, or a customer asking a server for her number doesn’t in itself constitute sexual harassment, but if after a worker declines the date, or refuses to provide his or her number, and the customer or co-worker keeps pushing, this can constitute sexual harassment. If a worker who complains about sexual harassment gets punished either by being fired or demoted, this could also constitute retaliation and the worker may be able to sue the employer for damages, lost income, and lost opportunities.
Have you been a victim of sexual harassment at your restaurant job? If you’ve faced sexual harassment on the job, what can you do? You have important rights under the law. For example, you have the right to report the incident to human resources or to your manager. Employers have a responsibility to take these complaints seriously and to take action to rectify the situation. Have questions about your rights if you’ve suffered sexual harassment on the job, had to leave a job due to sexual harassment, or suffered retaliation for reporting sexual harassment? Moore & Associates is a sexual harassment law firm in Houston, Texas that may be able to help you.
Seek Help Today for Your Sexual Harassment Case
More people than ever are coming forward to report sexual harassment. If you work in the restaurant industry and have suffered sexual harassment, you may have important rights under the law. Moore & Associates is a sexual harassment law firm in Houston, Texas that may be able to assist you with your case. Or, reach out to USAttorneys.com today to get connected to the sexual harassment lawyers at Moore & Associates.