Workplace Justice

Using tactics that include organizing workers, litigation, and public pressure, we work to demonstrate public consequences for employers that take the ‘low-road’ to profitability.

The Low Road: Many restaurant owners take the low road to profitability, violating workers’ rights and offering little chance of upward mobility.  It is primarily workers of color who are concentrated in the industry’s “bad jobs.”  These restaurant workers have nowhere to turn for help, as most of the industry is non-unionized.  For many, reporting abuses would mean losing their jobs; some fear deportation.

Our Successes: Nationally, ROC has led and won 13 major campaigns against exploitation in high-profile restaurant companies, organizing more than 400 workers and winning more than $7 million in financial settlements and improvements in workplace policies, including grievance procedures, raises, sexual harassment policies, sick days, job security, and anti-discrimination policies. Some highlights of our victories include:

- Justice at Andiamo Restaurant Group in Detroit, Michigan, where workers obtained a resolution that includes innovative anti-discrimination measures, complaint-resolution procedures, training, hiring, break, uniform, and equipment policies, along with translation of employee materials for non-English speakers. (Read coverage here)

- Victory at the Fireman Hospitality Group, in which 250 workers were organized to win $4 million in stolen tips and wages and payments for discrimination and sexual harassment. ROC also won policy changes covering the company’s 2000 workers in seven restaurants. (Read New York Times coverage)

- Improvements at the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, where workers suffered from wage theft and discrimination. (Read New York Times coverage)

Hungry for Justice