Several complaints have surfaced alleging sexual harassment in the restaurant industry from celebrity chefs to fine-dining restaurant chains. Many say that it is only a matter of time before victims at lower-end casual dining establishments start to come forward with similar accusations. Between 2005 and 2015, almost 15 percent of sexual harassment claims filed in the United States came from the food service and hospitality sector. Sexual harassment claims were more likely to be filed in the restaurant and hospitality industry than in any other sector.
According to Hart Research Associates in 2016, almost half of women employed in the fast food industry were sexually harassed. Hart Research Associates further reported that African-American and Latina women were more likely to be victimized than Caucasian women.
From Celebrities to Well-Known Establishments
There have been several widely publicized allegations of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry lately, perhaps most notably allegations against celebrity chef Mario Batali. After multiple allegations, Batali backed away from his restaurant empire, and was removed from several TV shows with which he had been involved.
In another high-profile case, five former female employees of McCormick & Schmick’s seafood chain in Boston filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. The women claimed that they were subjected to groping and lewd comments, and that their complaints were ignored by their employer. The women claim that the restaurant’s human resources department investigated their claims, but this only resulted in imposition of remedial measures, specifically two disciplinary action reports, a week suspension without pay, and one individual was fired.
Ex-employees of famed New York City restaurateur Ken Friedman alleged sexual harassment against their former boss. There have also been allegations against Johnny Iuzzini by employees who previously worked at high end-dining establishment, Jean-Georges, in New York.
Why the Restaurant Industry?
Restaurants tend to be male-dominated, though women are slowly becoming more prevalent in management positions. Owners and chefs often have absolute power over the kitchen, giving them the false impression that they can get away with anything. Often there is alcohol on the premises, which staff sometimes partake in, lowering their inhibitions and ability to exercise good judgment. The rush atmosphere can also contribute to a certain mood that can fuel inappropriate behavior.
People in the restaurant industry also tend to be young, and often work with their supervisors in very cramped kitchens and in close proximity. Supervisors and chefs may be more likely to take advantage of young workers who do not yet have a grasp of what kind of behavior is unacceptable at work.
New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Discrimination and Assault
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination at work, the New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.