Besides wearing black at the Golden Globes in solidarity with the Time’s Up anti-harassment campaign, Actress Amy Poehler brought female activist Sara Jayaraman as her plus one to bring the restaurant industry sexual harassment issues to light.
“Saru is my date tonight,” said Poehler to "ELLE.com" “But really, she’s my partner in a much bigger movement. Not a lot of people go to the Golden Globes, but everyone has either worked in or eaten in a restaurant, and she's working specifically on legislation to help reduce the amount of harassment.”
Jayaraman, who is a lawyer and the president of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, has been on a mission to confront the restaurant industry’s harassment problem, along with increasing the minimum wage.
She wants workers to be less reliant on tips because it fosters a culture where staff has to accept harassment and rudeness from customers often in order to make money.
“It’s a majority female workforce having to live on customer tips to feed their families,” said Jayaraman. “You can get rid of that by providing these workers with an actual wage.”
She points out that states that provide higher minimum wage for restaurant employees have a lower rate of harassment.
“California requires that, six other states require it, and they have half the rate of harassment of the rest of the country,” said Jayaraman. “So just get rid of that lower wage for tipped workers, make restaurants pay workers a full minimum wage, and you can cut harassment in half.”
California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland and New York City are all expected to see a spike in minimum wage this year. NYC’s wage is going to reach $15 an hour by 2019. Maine and Colorado have a goal to implement $12 an hour by 2020.
Read more from "Elle" about Poehler and Jayaraman’s mission here.