Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Providing Tailored Guidance For Your Legal Needs

Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy
Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Does needing to earn tips make sexual harassment more likely?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Firm News |

Most employees do not earn tips. Their income is based solely on what their employer pays them. However, those working in the service industry often rely on tips to top up their hourly wage and make enough to live.

While some people can do incredibly well out of tips, many employees would just prefer to get a better wage in the first place. One of the principal reasons is that they would not feel so obliged to put up with poor behavior from customers.

It can be hard to call out inappropriate customer behavior

While the law does not expect servers or any other employees to put up with sexual harassment (or any other kind of harassment) from customers, calling it out can be a tough call.

When your tips depend upon a customer going home happy, it can feel tempting to just let their inappropriate comments, requests or even touches slide. What’s more, some employees fear that if they did report it to their employer, the employer would take the customer’s side rather than theirs. Or at least, fail to take appropriate action.

Restaurant owners and managers can be too keen to please customers as they know that one bad review could cost them dearly. So, some of them will allow customers to get away with unacceptable behavior. 

Some restaurants and bars also enforce staff dress codes, which could encourage customers to see servers as sexual objects there for their pleasure and make it more likely that some customers believe they can make harassing comments or interactions without any repercussions.

You have a right to a workplace free from sexual harassment. If it occurs and your employer does not take steps to protect you, you may want to investigate your legal options.