Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
Restaurant workers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to sexual harassment. Many rely on tips as their primary source of income. There is significant incentive then to put up with sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct from customers who will be in control of the amount of the tip. Customers are aware of this dynamic and many take advantage of it. And if sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct is accepted from customers, it encourages the same conduct from coworkers. It infects the entire work environment. The first job for many young people is in the restaurant industry. This is where many learn what is and is not acceptable in the workplace. Currently, the majority of complaints of sexual harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission come from the restaurant industry. And most people don’t complain.
A number of states and cities have started requiring employers to pay tipped employees full state minimum wage before tips, including Minnesota, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. New York is about to follow suit. Michigan is looking at the issue as well. With the Me Too and Time’s Up movements in full swing and industries taking a hard look at steps that can be taken to decrease sexual harassment, the One Fair Wage Campaign is likely to gain significant momentum.