ROC United Statement on Reports that Trump Fired Women Employees Who Weren't 'Pretty Enough'

General food news


September 29, 2016


Contact: Tim Rusch, ruschtk@gmail.com917-399-0236


Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United responds to reports that Donald Trump fired women employees who weren’t “pretty enough”


Statement from ROC United Co-Founder and Co-Director, Saru Jayaraman:


"We are appalled by reports that Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, allegedly ordered women staff members at his resorts and golf courses fired if they were not ‘pretty enough.’ For decades, Mr. Trump has consistently demonstrated ignorance, sexism, and misogyny. He is aided by policymakers and a restaurant industry that allow employers like Mr. Trump to get away with these kind of practices by upholding a subminimum wage system. This system forces workers to live off tips, thus elevating one’s appearance -- over skill, merit or integrity -- as the criteria by which you earn more money.


"These revelations likely come as no surprise to the millions of women who work in America's bars and restaurants. 70 percent of our nation's restaurant workers are women who work for the tipped minimum wage, which can be as low as $2.13 per hour. The tipped minimum wage forces workers to rely on tips from customers to survive, making them vulnerable to abuses and indignities like sexual harassment. According to ROC's own research, a whopping 90 percent of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job. Their struggles account for the majority of complaints to the EEOC. The elimination of the tipped minimum wage and establishment of One Fair Wage for all workers would transform the lives of these women. One Fair Wage would produce financial stability with making women less vulnerable to harassment and discrimination.


“There is incredible momentum behind this movement. Seven states -- including California and the entire West Coast -- have already eliminated the tipped minimum wage and are watching their restaurant industries soar.  According to research, women restaurant workers in One Fair Wage States experience 50 percent less sexual harassment than their counterparts in the 43 states that have a lower wage for tipped workers. Support for One Fair Wage is growing. The White House and the Department of Labor have endorsed One Fair Wage. Also One Fair Wage is included in this year's Democratic Party Platform, and enthusiastically endorsed by Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton. Clearly, America is ready for One Fair Wage.”




Tipped Worker Facts

  • 48% of restaurant workers live at or near the poverty line

  • Nearly 70% of restaurant workers are women

  • 90% of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job

  • The Federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13. It was last raised in 1991

  • 1 in 7 tipped workers rely on food stamps

  • 11% of restaurant workers have access to paid sick leave, and even fewer have access to paid family leave (National Health Interview Survey 2014).




Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman, (One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News), ROC United’s 18,000 worker members, 200 employer members, and thousands of consumer members have won over 15 worker led campaigns, recovering over $10 million in stolen tips and wages nationwide. If you are a tipped worker experiencing sexual harassment on the job, please call your local ROC United office for assistance.