Sexually Harassed Waiters/Waitresses

by jenna_miller on October 3, 2016 - 11:53pm

In the restaurant world, many waiters and waitresses have been considered sexually harassed. A large percent of men and women have been harassed by their managers, coworkers and by customers as well. Women get sexually harassed overall more than men.  For example, women’s bosses tell them to wear provocative clothes in order to get bigger tips because of their extremely low minimum wage. Many workers say they have been groped or people have made sexual jokes about them or to them. Many workers don’t think they can stand up to their customers because if they do, they may not get a nice tip that they deserve. I think this is very unfair to waiters and waitresses. Apparently women that make about $2 an hour get more sexually harassed than women getting paid more because they dress more provocatively in order to get better tips from their customers. I personally am very disappointed with society’s response to waiters and waitresses that get sexually harassed and I hope there could someday be a change. According to the Time Magazine article, “66% of Female Restaurant Workers Report Being Sexually Harassed by Managers”, managers do not sympathize with their waiters and waitresses on this topic. 


Stampler, L. (2014, October/November). New Report Shows Staggering Sexual Harassment

Figures For Female and Male Restaurant Employees. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from



I was drawn to your post because I am also aware and familiar with this problem and also very disappointed with this social issue that occurs worldwide. As a barista myself, working at a coffee shop is not always as nice as it seems. Yes, the environment is mostly calm and people for the most part are quite friendly. Although, as a woman taking occasional orders from men clients, I am not always treated with the respect that I deserve. Its strange to think that people think they are entitled to a morning coffee; as if I owe them something. This made me realize that most people often treat others in ways that are not always respectful because they feel superior. Unfortunately, woman in most societies are targeted as the inferior group but we need to put our foot down and stand up for ourselves if found in any degrading situation. I believe that sexual harassment in the restaurant business is similar to a concept that I learnt in class. We covered a concept of “race” which in many ways, is something socially constructed to benefit a dominant or majority group in society and was created to easily classify humans. With race comes an issue called racism which means that one group of humans are being treated differently due to an ideology. I would like to link this ideology of someone being considered higher than someone else with gender inequality, also known as sexism. Its a shame that there is such inequalities in todays society, whether it involves skin color or gender type. Thank you for covering such a powerful topic and I will definitely read more upon this discussion in the newsmagazine article posted below.

Your post drew me in because I work at a pizza place as a waitress in my hometown and have experienced being sexually harassed myself. I believe that this a huge social issue and wish it did not happen as often as it does. But unfortunately for us girls, its hard. In a way I feel as if were stereotyped to do anything for money. But in most cases that is not true. When I was first sexually harassed at my job it was by my own manager. I was absolutely disgusted and quit. This is a world wide issue. I can agree with you that women get sexually harassed more then men. We live in a sad word. One day, like you, I hope that there can be change and us girls and put our foot down and stand up for out selves.

I completely agree with your view on this subject. I was draw to this article because I am a waitress at a sports bar and this happens to my coworkers and I almost every shift. I was curious to see what your position was on this topic. I did not realize that 66% of girls are harassed by managers. It often happens at my work, but I thought it may have been an exception because it is a sports bar and not everything is as "classy" and "formal" as other restaurants (olivegarden/ baton rouge type). I'm currently enrolled in a race and racism class this semester. This post reminded me of the unfair inequalities between groups of people. In my case, girls are significantly affected more than guys are. In class we discuss the dominance of a more "powerful" group of people based on skin colour. Why makes one group of people superior to another? I am unable to wrap my head around the fact that today, in 2016, we still see a specific group of people treated differently and unfairly. Whether an individual is a girl, boy, has black hair, blond hair, dark skin, pale skin, it should not make a difference.
Disclaimer* : I am very well aware that not only females are affected by this and that male waiters are also sexually harassed in restaurants. I was simply specifying females because of my personal experiences in my current workplace.

As a foodservice professional for over 40 years, I felt it my duty to read this article. That is why my back ground shaped my reaction.
It was not easy to read this article as it was very disturbing.
I might be naïve bit I have never harassed or had anyone under my supervision harassed.
I am not saying that it does not happen, there are charlatans everywhere.
The article espouses that sexual harassment by managers is rampant in the industry. If it is, it is news to me. The people doing the harassing probably are not veterans of this great foodservice industry and they should not be judged as the industry as a whole. Food service gets a bad rap In the United States alone; 14 million people are employed in the foodservice business.
If you feel that you are sexually harassed by anyone: report them. There are plenty of resources private and public to report to.

First off I want to say how much i appreciate your post because now the hot topic is about race relationship, which can become frustrating, so its nice to read about a post about an issue that is just as important, but for some reason will never be a front page story. I completely agree that it is disappointing that our society has sexualized females to a point it can determine their pay. At the same time, while I see it as completely terrible that some woman have to dress provocatively to receive a nice tip, I have personally seen some woman excited and happy that they have that advantage to earn a better tip then some of their fellow workers. Is it still wrong, yes and it will always be wrong because in our society sexualizing a woman is not something new. While I agree that we should be teaching the newer generations how to respect another body, there will always be those people to appose it, or over look it. I had a similar experience, working in a restaurant over the summer. I was a girl who worked in the front selling food, while the boys worked in the back. Many men who were clearly older would always make inappropriate gestures and comments towards me and some of the other girls. Our supervisor standing right there would just shush them even though he heard it on a daily basis. If it happens on a daily basis, wouldn't you think this is sexual harassment? It is, but to my supervisor who is in his 40-50 its not unless actually action one to one happens. This created and uncomfortable environment to work it. So what is the solution to this if the older generation is not realized or enforcing the respect that woman deserve in the work field? It must be to wait until our generation reaches this age to teach the younger generation.

Thank you so much for introducing me and others to this topic! After reading this and doing research, I had no idea that the restaurant industry was the number one source for sexual harassment cases. All of your points are accurate, especially about society’s lack of response to the issue. I am almost positive that based off of my reaction, the majority of people live with the same lack of insight. Your argument begins to poke the surface about how societal pressures on women reflect how others treat them not just in life but in the workplace especially. Women are put in a position in which their success in the workplace is fundamentally dependent upon how sexually they dress and how flirty they are. How does this propel society forward not just economically but socially? As a young woman, pressures from media, classmates, and older individuals come from every vessel each and every second of the day. Whether it be pressure to dress a certain way, act a certain way, or even go to certain places, pressure dictates our paths as much as we try to avoid it. What makes all of this worse is that bosses and others not only allow it to happen but encourage it. These people that are supposed to push us to succeed and support us are the ones putting us in situations to mistreated, even harassed. I looked into an article that goes off of what you began to talk about; women usually go along with these pressures in order to get tips or even to just stay employed. When will society stand up and demand change?

This post is very relatable to me because in the summer time, I work at a restaurant back at home and I experienced being sexually harassed verbally by male customers all the time. It is hard for me to stand up for myself because I am at work and whenever I report it to my manager he tells me to “ignore it”. I find it disgusting that men think it is ok to sexually harass women. I think it's unfair that us waitresses and waiters have to feel uncomfortable in our workplace, we treat our customers with respect and they should do the same. This is a worldwide issue that is being overlooked constantly and i hope that someday us waitresses and waiters don’t have to deal with this situation.

What initially drew me to this post was the subject. This topic has become a very prominent issue in today’s society although it has been going on for a very long time. This post also relates to me because I work at a restaurant back home during the summers and although I have not witnessed it happening I’m sure it takes place there. I also think society’s lack of response is awful. I’m sure some restaurants know the sexual harassment is going on and do not to anything to try and prevent it and the managers actually encourage it for tips. I believe this is wrong and society should try and respond to and change the way they look at sexual harassment.

I was intrigued and drawn in by the subject of this post. It is a shame that this is such a common thing, and what's worse is that most of the time, these situations don't become public which is why it is still such an issue. I have worked in customer service before and a lot of my friends and family have worked in restaurants specifically so I was aware of similar issues but it's unfortunate that it is still so predominant. This is something society does not put a lot of focus on, which is not good. It is unfair for a woman (or man) to feel uncomfortable in their work environment, especially when we are told that the customer is always right and we must accommodate to their needs.

I was drawn to this post by its title because it made me realize how people like waiters and waitresses are constantly harassed and not everyone does or say anything about it. I found it very interesting to learn that 66% of waitresses are sexually harassed and asked to dress provocatively in order to get more tips and that ever the employer encourages this kind of negative behavior instead of protecting his/hers employees. I think that men and especially women should not be put under such pressure. It is really disturbing that someone has to wear inappropriate clothes at a workplace. In the addition this, when you said " women’s bosses tell them to wear provocative clothes in order to get bigger tips", it makes me think of the concept of race. We could compare the boss to society and the waitresses as a minority group and the waiters as "white" people, which is the privileged group. Obviously, women are more affected by the orders of the boss than men are just as a minority group is more affected by the concept of race than white people are. In conclusion, I think that everyone should be respected at their workplace no matter their gender, race, etc.

What drew me to this post is that I have often contemplated becoming a waitress myself. Something that I have never taken into consideration is whether or not I would be subjected to sexual harassment. A point that I found interesting was that some employees are worried about losing their jobs for responding to the rude comments. I feel that if one goes about handling these comments maturely and professionally, it shouldn't be an issue. An idea would be to go the manger, and discuss what happened. I remember when I was working at a dentist office and I was handling a very rude patient, and I told my office manager about what had happened, and she simply said alright thank you for letting me know. I had not seen the patients name on the schedule since. I feel that its important for a manager of a business to be caring of their costumers, but also caring of their employees. I think it is crazy how females dress differently for a bigger tip, especially because they definitely shouldn't have to dress like that to make a living. This was a very good post, talking about your article and including your opinion.

The title of your text was direct and to the point, which is what caught my attention. Throughout the entire text, you made very direct points with clear explanations, and did not beat around the bush about anything. I think that the topic you chose to write about is one that is very important and must be more openly recognized. The statistics you used to quantify sexual harassment frequencies upon female restaurant workers by their managers provides a better understanding of how serious this problem is. This article relates to the concept of rape culture, specifically how rape and sexual harassment become normalized through these ideas. Although you only refer to sexual harassment in this text, rape culture still applies to the concept. The fact that the managers of restaurants encourage provocative clothing in order to benefit the business by getting extra tips and attaining a certain reputation portrays the ignorance society has towards rape culture and how it is omnipresent. It also alludes to the idea that pleasing males is prioritized over a female's opinion. The amount of sexual harassment reports is numerous enough to deserve presence in the media, which is lacking. I have witnessed sexual harassment at work first hand. I work in a simple Italian bakery, serving customers with whichever goods they desire. I, along with other girls I work with, have been cat-called and commented on based on our gender. The subject you presented in this article is extremely important and must be heard — along with the significant downplay of sexual harassment accusations and reports. Here's more information on rape culture:

About the author