Many women who work in fast food restaurants in New York and around the country experience sexual harassment from coworkers, managers and customers. A study that was conducted by Hart Research Associates found that 40 percent of female fast food workers have been sexually harassed on the job, and many of those women feel like they have to put up with it to keep their jobs.
Researchers who worked on the study looked at 1,217 women's answers to survey questions about their experiences with workplace sexual harassment. The female fast food workers were aged 16 and up, and all of the workers were employed in non-managerial positions. Twenty-eight percent of the survey respondents said that they had endured more than one incident of unwanted touching, kissing, sexual comments and other forms of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the fast food industry has a negative effect on workers, and the workers that were surveyed reported dealing with harassment in different ways. Many of the women surveyed sad that they experienced anxiety, stress, depression, sleep problems and loss of appetite as a direct result of being sexually harassed. Some of the women said that they altered their work schedules, worked less or quit their jobs because of sexual harassment. Forty-two percent of the survey respondents said that they felt like they had to accept sexual harassment in order to keep their jobs.
Workers who are told that they must accept inappropriate sexual behavior as a condition of their employment may want to file a sexual harassment claim against their employer with the assistance of an attorney. This type of behavior is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as under New York law.