Just a couple of months ago I posted a news story from Canada about an academic study which found that “Female servers have to put up with a lot of sexual harassment on the job.” The study “found low wages and a dependence on tips makes some female servers more vulnerable to sexual harassment from customers and colleagues.”
A new suit brought by the EEOC against a South Carolina Applebee’s illustrates this situation.
The EEOC says that “This incredible case – where an abusive manager allegedly harassed one sister and then another – reinforces the crucial need for employers to take appropriate action to stop unwelcome sexual comments and misconduct in the workplace.”
It is alleged that a male assistant manager subjected a waitress to harassment which “included comments about the size of her breasts, comparing salad dressing to semen, and propositioning [her] for sex.” To make matters worse, it is further alleged that the same assistant manager sexually harassed her sister, who started working there later, which “included comments regarding female genitalia and as well as propositions for sex.” The complaint alleges that “the assistant manager touched both women inappropriately.”
The EEOC says that management was aware of all of this but did nothing until “a male relative of one of the women threatened to address the situation personally.”
I can imagine how he intended to proceed.
And I can imagine how the sisters might have wanted to “address the situation.”
Takeaway: I’ve said this before – many times.
We know that female servers are vulnerable to sexual harassment. Therefore, employers should understand that, from the top down, an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment tone and policy must be set, and all management personnel as well as line workers must be trained and educated in the basics of discrimination and harassment law, and compliance and its application in the workplace.
Employers should not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form, and must make it clear by words and deeds that employees have the right to complain about such acts and that their complaints will be heard, investigated and, if good cause is found, remediated promptly.