Restaurant owners making fun of daughters body, who is employed by them.

My 19 year old daughter has been working in a Thai restaurant in a small town near her college for about 6 months. The owners have them wear Thai costumes when working. The costume given to my daughter was too small and fit tightly across her bottom. She just called me crying because of the owners harassment and jokes being made right in front of her about her body that are also taking place in front of other employees and customers, making her feel very uncomfortable. The owners of this restaurant along with one of the owners parents are always making fun of her derriere. Even pointing and laughing, not caring if she sees, talking in Thai language. In two months there have been at least 10 employees who have quit because of how they were treated. Also what I find is odd is that all paychecks are hand written on receipts and that she must come in the next day to get her tips, which are paid in cash. My daughter says they take 15 of the tips out, so that is why she has to go in on days off to pick up her tips from the day or night before. She will be talking to the one of the owners today, but isn’t this harassment? Maybe I should just drop it, but I’m extremely upset about the negative effects this has on my daughter with one of her first working experiences.

Asked on July 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Because they are talking and intentionally harassing your daughter about her body parts, she could potentially file a claim for sexual harassment under federal discrimination laws... or a hostile work environment claim under OSHA laws.  The behavior is unacceptable, especially considering the age of your daughter.
Your daughter needs to express her dissapproval of the statements to the owner so that she learns the valuable lesson of standing up for herself and knowing that their actions are inappropriate.  If this job is having a negative effect on her, she needs to quit the job and cite the harassment as the reason for her leaving.  She can then go file a state claim or federal claim for harassment.  Federal claims would either be through the EEOC or OSHA... but EEOC seems the best fit.  Even if she doesn't file the claim, learning self-advocacy for issues like this are valuable lessons for young women.
Your daughter can continue working there if the two of you think she can handle the environment....that's a personal decision, not a legal decision.  However, no job is worth compromising who you are.  Your daughter seems like a young and loving spirit.  She doesn't deserve to be treated less than who she is.


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