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Philadelphia, the historic city, offers a colorful array of restaurants for tourists and locals alike. This growing industry has helped Philly become one of the tourist top destinations around the country. However, despite its diversity and the economic growth it brings, our city echoes a national trend experienced by restaurant workers, it shows high rates of sexual harassment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant industry is the fifth largest private sector employer in Philadelphia, it includes more than 12,000 establishments and employs more than 113,000 workers. Its workforce in the last years has had an increase in immigrants, women and young people. According to “Behind the Kitchen Door,” a report published by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) in 2012, almost 40% of interviewed workers responded they had experienced sexual harassment at their restaurant, being customers the top source of harassment (80%), followed by management and co-workers.

Though sexual harassment pervades the restaurant industry, the larger problem is that restaurant workers do not think unwelcomed sexual behavior is sexual harassment. Thus, people who face harassment do not always report. Instead, they think that their treatment comes with the job. They do not know that they have rights under the law to stop the harassment.


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