The survey of 688 current and former restaurant workers in 39 states also showed that 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men faced sexual harassment at the hands of co-workers. Sexual teasing, inappropriate touching and sexually suggestive gestures are some of the harassment examples cited by workers, who were surveyed May through August of this year.
Among other troubling findings, nearly 80 percent of women and 55 percent of men reported being harassed by restaurant customers while at work.
“Our report finds that sexual harassment is absolutely systemic across the restaurant industry and is experienced by a majority of workers, but the heaviest impact is borne by women, trans people, tipped workers and workers in states that allow employers to pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 an hour,” said Eveline Shen, executive director of Forward Together, a social advocacy organization.
Chicago voters might have an opportunity during the February municipal election to weigh in on a non-binding ballot referendum about paid sick leave for workers in the city.
The council’s Rules Committee passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting calling for an advisory ballot question on whether employers in Chicago should be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of an “illness or public health emergency.” The full council could consider the proposal at its meeting this Wednesday.
Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), one of the sponsors of the referendum resolution, discussed the measure at a forum on paid sick leave and other pro-worker initiatives held this morning at Roosevelt University.
“It’s a great organizing tool for those who support paid sick leave,” Moore said of the pending citywide referendum, also sponsored by Alds. Joe Moreno (1st) and Will Burns (4th). Moore said he is confident the measure will pass through the full council tomorrow.
“The shift towards temp work is creating an economy in which working people who move and produce products for some of our nation’s largest and most profitable corporations are treated like any other input, to be acquired at the cheapest cost,” said the report’s co-author Rebecca Smith, NELP’s deputy director. “Staffing agencies not only fail to provide livable wages, benefits or job security for their workers, but their influence in an industry can lower standards for all workers in that industry.”
Three states and the District of Columbia have been awarded federal grants totaling $500,000 to study the feasibility of developing and implementing statewide paid family and medical leave programs, the U.S. Labor Department announced Wednesday.