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Sun Feb 1, 2015, 02:51 AM

How Tipping Helped Make Sexual Harassment the Norm for Female Servers

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17586/how_tipping_helped_make_sexual_harassment_the_norm_for_female_servers

While I was writing about sexual harassment of women workers at Ford, restaurant workers reminded me that 37 percent of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims of sexual harassment come from their industry. These dismal stats are connected to how many restaurant workers get paid: tips.

U.S. unions opposed tipping when it first became a thing in the early 1900s, imported by hoity-toity Americans imitating the European rich. Most Americans denounced the dispensing of a few coins to workers as anti-democratic and a reminder of the kind of master-servant folderol we had rejected with King George.

But now the tables are turned, and tipping is much more prevalent in the U.S. than it is in Europe. In some countries, like Australia, it’s regarded as really bad manners. “Who do you think you are, the Queen?” they ask.

What happened? While unions and others tried to outlaw tipping in the early days, restaurant employers saw it as free money. “Workers get paid extra by the customers, so we can pay them less—what’s not to like?” they reasoned.

The mess was codified in 1966 when restaurant and other tipped workers finally got included in the Fair Labor Standards Act. But instead of one fair wage, the law created a second tier: tipped workers who could be paid a subminimum wage.

The restaurant lobby then leaned on politicians to hold the federal tipped minimum wage at $2.13 an hour (the 1991 rate) while the minimum wage rose. Tipped wages had been 50 percent of the federal minimum; now they’re just 29 percent. (The boss is supposed to top it up if $2.13 plus tips doesn’t reach the hourly minimum, but restaurant workers say that doesn’t happen much.)

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Reply How Tipping Helped Make Sexual Harassment the Norm for Female Servers (Original post)
eridani Feb 2015 OP
Downwinder Feb 2015 #1
LittleGirl Feb 2015 #2
obxhead Feb 2015 #3
mopinko Feb 2015 #4

Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 03:09 AM

1. Wonder if tipping can be shown to have led to bonuses?

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 05:08 AM

2. When I was a waitress

the pay was $2.01 an hour + tips. Then in 1983 (I think), the gov't decided that we made too much in tips to be exempt from taxes so our totals sales were taxed at 8% even if we didn't get a tip from our customers for the service. So if we sold 100 bucks worth of food and drinks, we'd have to claim 8 bucks in tips on top of our 2.01 an hour "salary" which also had taxes taken out. Trust me, there were times when I didn't get 8 bucks in tips because of cheap patrons and there was not a damn thing I could do about it. Just suck it up and hope that your next scheduled shift made up for that awful shift. I also paid out of pocket for my heath insurance coverage (when I could get it) and there were many of my so-called paychecks that were 0 or minus because of the insurance premiums, social security, state and medicare taxes that were taken out. I also had to provide my own uniform outfit and wash them with my own money. Oh and I'll never forget when a tooth abscessed and I had to ask my Mother for the dental fees. My rent at the time was 220 all utilities paid and I had a studio apartment that was about 500 sq ft. I tried to pay for college but just couldn't swing it. My income was too much for a Pell Grant (thanks to Reagan). I finally graduated from college at age 45.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 05:08 AM

3. tipped workers have to be below minimum across an entire month

 

Before the employer has to correct their wage.

So one shitty night with particularly shitty customers is always absorbed by the server, not the employer.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Feb 1, 2015, 09:12 AM

4. i can see it. i cocktail waitressed long ago at a place

where the servers wore a black blazer and tights. no pants. most wore a top that barely showed under the jacket. we wore dancers panties, but you couldnt wear anything w legs, and most wore the very high cut panties. and heels were expected.
we were also expected to color our hair if we had any grey.

on a really good night, you might make $100. (late 70's) but ass grabbing was common, both from the customers and the bands that played there.

my daughter waits tables now, and $100 is still a good shift, tho the shifts are shorter. so she usually works 2.

at least she gets to wear pants and comfy shoes.

but flirting is still expected if you want a decent tip.

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