The #MeToo movement has had a significant impact on every industry. But in the restaurant industry in particular, numerous high-profile restauranteurs and chefs have been exposed for sexual misconduct and black-listed from the industry.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment has been bred in the culture at restaurants. That’s why the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has specifically identified the foodservice sector as a problem field.
With that in mind, groups like the Coalition for Restaurant Safety and Health (CRSH) was recently formed to provide training for operators and workers at smaller scale establishments to help prevent this type of misconduct.
Their goal is make sure more of these cases are reported.
“An employer has to be aware of a situation before they are legally liable for not curing it. It’s up to people to come forward to put the employer on notice, the employer then has to do something,” said Nadia Hewka, coalition co-founder and attorney.
The group has created temporary classrooms where an instructor goes over what harassment is under the law and where employees can report sexual misconduct when their employer fails to address it.
The coalition is one of the many popping up across the country.
In New Orleans, another group called Medusa also is on a mission to train restaurant employees and owners on how to address sexual misconduct.
But it isn’t just the workers being impacted. Customers are also participating in sexual harassment.
“I went over to him and I was like, ‘Hey, that regular just grabbed my ass and it made me really uncomfortable. Will you intervene?’” said Mary Garten, a 26-year-old who has worked in the restaurant industry for six years said to a former assistant manager. “Instead, what he did was he grabbed my ass and said, ‘Oh, like that?’ And so I quit.”
Garten also said that she has seen an improvement in the industry after seeing more sexual harassment policies being implemented at restaurants she has worked at.
Read more about this movement here at “Marketplace.”