Sexual Harassment at Work FAQs | Mann & Elias
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The Impact of Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

Sexual Harassment Attorneys for Restaurant Workers in Los Angeles

Restaurant workers often fall victim to sexual harassment at work, including unwanted language, contact, and unfavorable treatment from upper management or customers.

Los Angeles, being one of the most favorable tourist destinations in the U.S., is the hub of ethnic and cultural cuisines. But the restaurants offer more than a fine dining experience for tourists and locals. They employ servers, managers, and support staff, as well. Many of which rely on daily tips to make ends meet. If you work in a restaurant, you should understand your rights regarding sexual harassment and discrimination.

What is Sexual Harassment?

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing defines sexual harassment as any form of unwelcomed remarks, physical advances, or inappropriate engagement based on one’s sex. Harassment can occur between anyone associated with the restaurant regardless of gender and status of employment. Whether you were directly impacted or witnessed a co-worker experience harassment, it should be reported immediately to an employer. Failing to report may lead to a hostile work environment in Los Angeles if the situation persists. Similarly, victims of sexual harassment should consider retaining a workplace lawyer in Los Angeles if they have underlying concerns about wrongful termination.

How Are Restaurant Employees Impacted?

There are more than six million restaurant workers across the U.S. according to a report issued by The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United). Of the six million, a majority of them are underpaid women that depend on retrieving a stable income through tipped wages. Having a dependence on tips can jeopardize their safety as employees, through a significant power imbalance between them and upper management. Women that work in hospitality industries account for nearly 14% (ROC United) of all sexual harassment claims and continue to at an alarming rate.

At any job, employees are often discouraged from speaking up about their harasser or participating in an investigation. We understand it is not easy to recount your experience, and you may fear the repercussions. Instead of doing this alone, we recommend reaching out to an employee rights attorney in Los Angeles for legal guidance. There is no reason why you must compromise your rights for the sake of a business.

The Data on Sexual Harassment

Harassment can be hard to determine and identify for both women, men, and non-identifying persons, especially during busy hours. Why? The culture and nature of restaurants play a huge role in it. Across the board, men make up a majority of upper management, according to the Harvard Business Review, whereas employees are typically young women.

For decades restaurants and businesses have prided their success on the “customer is always right” motto. While it is an effective business strategy, it allows customers to harass and mistreat staff. Additionally, it insinuates employees will not be granted a safe space that will hold them accountable. There is more leeway for customers that sexually harass a waiter or waitress. So, when an employee does raise concerns, it gets dismissed or ignored. Customers are the main source of income for all restaurant employees, especially individual tips. Many would not want to risk the chance of retaliation or impacting collective employee wages.

For a better understanding of how current or former restaurant workers are impacted, read on for a few key facts directly sourced from ROC United.

  • “Women who had previously worked as tipped workers were 1.6 times as likely to live with inappropriate behaviors in the workplace as women who were currently employed as tipped workers.”
  • “Most women didn’t recognize their experiences as sexual harassment until they were asked to reflect on their experiences…”
  • “Several women said it impacted them in their life outside the workplace…leading them to tolerate sexual assault associated with accepted workplace behavior.”
  •  “Experiences of harassment had an economic impact, as many workers felt forced to leave jobs, or left them with limited choices and few options, stuck in an abusive workplace or relationship.”

To hold an employer accountable for failing to uphold a safe working environment, victims of sexual misconduct should retain an attorney for workplace harassment lawsuits in Los Angeles.

What Can Restaurants Do to Reduce Sexual Harassment?

Employers are responsible for protecting employees from customer sexual harassment. When they fail, it can not only cost them considerably but also harm the business. Alongside a sexual harassment lawyer Los Angeles, victims can file a small or high-profile claim. There is a high risk that the business may drop if he or she is considering continuing employment.

Employees are responsive to their organization’s approach when it comes to sexual harassment claims. To reduce the number of occurrences, and increase the percentage of employees that feel safe to come forward, managers must develop strict anti-sexual harassment policies; and establish strict criteria for employees to follow if they need to report an incident. Upper management should also have their procedure to address complaints consistently and fairly.

As companies and organizations find an appropriate way to navigate through gender discrimination and learn from political movements like #MeToo, employers should be mindful of what problems employees encounter, and how to fairly address them to improve morale and the work environment overall. California employees, especially women deserve to work without having to fear sexual harassment. If you have additional questions or feel that your complaint is not getting handled appropriately, reach out to our attorney for sexual misconduct in LA.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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