Over the past two weeks, the Harvey Weinstein allegations have brought the issue of workplace sexual harassment to the forefront. According to a report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, one in four women experience workplace harassment. Although the issue permeates every industry, restaurant servers and waitresses are profoundly impacted by sexual harassment — largely because they rely so heavily on tips.
The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is only $2.13 per hour — and it hasn’t been raised since 1991.
When business is slow or customers leave poor gratuities (seriously people — if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip 20%), many servers end up making significantly less than minimum wage.
Two badass women, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, have partnered with the issue-driven digital media platform ATTN and Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) to create a video that sheds light on this major problem — and it gets bonus points for bringing on laughter while addressing a serious issue. (We’d expect nothing less from Fonda and Tomlin.)
The video, titled “This is what servers would say if they didn’t rely on tips,” depicts Fonda and Tomlin dealing with a sleazy male customer.
They respond to his indecent advances by cursing, flipping him off, and throwing a glass of water in his face when the situation calls for it.
Check it out:
Although the video is full of levity, it’s also a powerful reminder of the sexual harassment that servers are forced to grin and bear simply so they can hope to receive a good tip.
Lower wages for tipped workers disproportionally impact women, and a 2014 study found that a staggering 80 percent of women servers have been sexually harassed by customers.
The video was shot in Michigan, where Fonda and Tomlin have been advocating for a bill to raise minimum wage and phase out lower wage for tipped workers. The dynamic duo is also working with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC)’s ONE FAIR WAGE campaign to advance campaigns across the country to pass legislation in cities and states that will require the restaurant industry to pay all its employees at least the regular minimum wage.
For more information about the ONE FAIR WAGE campaign, click here.