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Women in the Restaurant Industry


Given that wait staff is one of the most visible labor forces and that we are made to feel good about ourselves by tipping them whatever we think is appropriate, it might be surprising (unless you know people who work in the industry) that they are often extremely poorly paid. Moreover, for women workers at lower-end establishments, working conditions can be poor and wages, even including tips, below the federal minimum wage.

Laura Clawson has an excellent essay up about the poor treatment of female waiters, including discussions of sexual harassment, pay disparity with male waiters, and restaurant managers pressuring workers to accept sub-minimum wages if their tips don’t bring them up to the federal minimum wage.

Great story, if an infuriating subject.

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