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Sexual harassment in restaurant workplaces

Many New Yorkers work in restaurants, and as a new study indicates, a majority of them may be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. A recent study in which 688 restaurant workers across 39 states were interviewed demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem.

The study was conducted by a nonprofit advocacy group that found that a shocking 66 percent of women and more than 50 percent of men working in restaurants had been the victims of sexual harassment from their supervisors. Sexual harassment from coworkers was reported by 70 percent of male employees and 80 percent of females.

Of those who reported being victims of workplace sexual harassment, 47 percent of men, 50 percent of women and 60 percent of transgendered workers reported the advances were unwanted. Additionally, 40 percent of transgendered workers, 22 percent of male workers and 30 percent of female workers indicated that unwanted sexual touching was common. Workers in states that only require a base pay of $2.13 per hour plus tips were more likely to experience sexual harassment than those in states where all restaurant workers receive at least the minimum wage.

When restaurant employees receive unwelcome sexual advances at their job, they may be able to recover damages through filing a complaint against their employer. As there are strict statutory deadlines for filing complaints about workplace sexual harassment, speaking to an employment law attorney soon after the incident occurs may be very important. An attorney may help such clients go through the in-house complaint process at their job. If that doesn't resolve the problem, the attorney may then help file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or applicable state agency.

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