Restaurant workers say pandemic has brought fewer tips and more sexual harassment

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Hello, Broadsheet readers! We need a Marshall Plan for moms, Shemara Wikramanayake is making her first big deal in Macquarie, and restaurant workers are reporting a worrying increase in sexual harassment. Have a good Tuesday.

– The customer is not always right. With New York apparently headed for a stop eating inside Amid the surge in COVID numbers, the plight of restaurants and catering workers concerns me.

But if much of the pressure on restaurant workers comes from the virus – a biological force without conscience or empathy – what is truly appalling, according to a new report from One Fair Wage, is that the tension is amplified by other humans, who should be fully capable of both.

This NPR story notes that a fair wage found that “over 80% of workers are seeing a drop in tips and over 40% say they are facing an increase in sexual harassment from customers.” The group even called their report, “Take off your mask so I know how much you tip,” after one of the comments a worker said she received from a client. Sixty percent of 1,600 restaurant workers surveyed also said they felt unable to enforce social distancing and masking rules among customers they depend on for tips.

Ugh. There’s so much to unbox here, from customers’ blatant disregard for the security of their servers, to the gender dynamics of having to flaunt your body to get tips, to an industry that forces workers to submit to behavior. also sexist – and now physically dangerous! – in order to earn a living wage.

True, COVID-19 has exposed many issues with the current structure of American restaurants, including his reliance on extremely low wages supported by tips. Providing workers with a fair hourly wage certainly sounds like a sensible step to take, although I will leave this debate to much more informed people. Of the industry that I own. What is clear is that the current setup is not working – and that frontline workers, who deal with aggressive and empowered clients, bear an unfair and dangerous part of the dysfunction.

Kristen bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.


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