With more than 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. It is also the single-largest source of sexual-harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women occupy most of the financially precarious restaurant jobs; more than 70% of servers are women, and more than 60% of all tipped occupations are filled by women.
Due to the two-tiered wage system that allows restaurant employers to pay as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991) to tipped workers, and the overwhelming lack of enforcement and compliance ensuring that employers pay workers the full minimum wage when tips fall short, women in tipped occupations often make a living entirely off tips. Absent a stable base wage from their employers, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours. However, a majority of all restaurant workers report experiencing sexual harassment.
By looking at the rate and types of sexual harassment experienced by current and former restaurant workers through national surveys and rigorous analysis, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Forward Together provide the most accurate picture to date of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry.
The Glass Floor examines the incidence of multiple sexual behaviors that workers were exposed to from restaurant owners, managers, and supervisors (management), from co-workers, and from customers, measured through nearly 700 surveys of people who are currently or recently worked in a restaurant, along with focus groups conducted in Houston, New York, New Orleans, and Washington, DC. Data were also compiled and analyzed from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Current Population Survey, and the American Community Survey to gain a broad understanding of the conditions impacting sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
Please find the full report below or download it here.