For Immediate Release: January 22, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720-352-6153

STATEMENT: Saru Jayaraman Responds to Civil Rights Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
Recent Poll Shows 90% of Female Tipped Workers Experience Sexual Harassment

Details here:
http://rocunited.org/the-glass-floor-sexual-harassment-in-the-restaurant-industry
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/01/22/3614199/mcdonalds-racial-sexual-harassment

“The women filing this charge against McDonald’s report being inappropriately touched on their legs and buttocks, recieving sexual pictures from their co-workers and supervisors, and being solicited for sexual relations. This isn’t a ‘few bad apples’ situation – this happens all the time, every day, and so often that countless female restaurant workers consider sexual harassment to ‘be part of the job.’ And due to ROC’s national survey of restaurant workers, we now know that low wages, and the tipped minimum wage in particular, severely exacerbates the restaurant industry’s culture of sexual harassment. In fact, 90% of female tipped workers report experiencing harassment on the job.

“Of course, an industry that systemically permits this type of abuse to run rampant would also have major racial discrimination issues. The restaurant industry is the largest employer of people of color, but they are practically shut out of the industry’s limited living-wage jobs. In fact workers of color in the United States pay a ‘race tax’ in the form of 56% lower earnings than white workers with the same qualifications.

“The fact that skin color and gender are still obstacles to being able to support yourself and your family with a job in one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country is exactly why raising labor standards throughout the entire restaurant industry — like eliminating the unfair, two-tiered wage system which forces women to live off tips and endure harassment — is absolutely essential to fixing our economy so that it works for everyone.”

REPORT – “The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry”: http://rocunited.org/the-glass-floor-sexual-harassment-in-the-restaurant-industry

REPORT – “The Great Service Divide”: http://rocunited.org/the-great-service-divide-national

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Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to over 13,000 worker-members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.