Like Hollywood actresses, but considerably worse off financially, waitresses endure rampant sexual harassment with impunity. A whopping 90 percent of women in the U.S. restaurant industry report being subject to unwanted sexual advances at work, and more than half of women say these interactions occur weekly, according to a Restaurant Opportunities Center report from 2014. For the restaurant industry—which employs 10 percent of the overall U.S. workforce and where women outnumber men by two to one—the magnitude of sexual harassment is difficult to fathom.
According to the 2014 ROC study, women working in states with a $2.13 sub-minimum tipped wage were twice as likely to report experiencing sexual harassment than women where the minimum wage is the same for tipped and non-tipped workers. “We have to jeopardize our integrity on a daily basis to pay rent. That is an extremely psychologically damaging position to get in.”