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Sexual Harassment

I live in Arizona. I work in a sushi restaurant owned by Koreans, I add this factor because I feel as though I am not treated equally as the men I work with possibly due to the culture.  Anyhow when I have made a complaint in the past about a work issue to the owners, I have had shifts taken from me so I am afraid to bring this new issue to light.  A new manager makes degrading comments about women fairly regularly, which I have made the mistake of trying to ignore and stay away from him. Recently, the manager stood behind me making gestures about my butt, though my back was to him, I could see gesturing from the corner of my eye. A male coworker of mine was standing there and when the manager left, I asked him if he was talking about my butt and he said he was.

I feel as though if I were to bring any of this up I am treated like I am just an “ over emotional women” and not taken seriously, not to mention I desperately need my job and I fear I would be fired. There is a women manager but she is not given much responsibility and also caters to their egos, so I know she wouldn’t handle the situation herself but rather send me to one of the men which I am totally not interested in talking to them on this matter. I’m not totally sure what the laws are , nor do I have the money for a lawyer. I know that I am not treated equally and I have been harassed but I don’t know what to do about it.  Any light you can shed on this issue I would greatly appreciate it.


Thanks for reaching out to Feminist.com and I'm sorry to hear about your situation. In terms of filing a formal sexual harassment complaint — the laws are very fuzzy and basically only apply to workplaces that have more than 25 employees. Unless the owner of this restaurant owns other establishments it's likely that they are exempt from such federal laws. If not, you should certainly explore filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In any event, I think it's important to document exactly what is being said, when and who is saying it. It's certainly hard to tolerate this and live through this, but sadly the only way to file a complaint successfully is to prove that there is a track record or history to such abuse. Even with that documentation it's still hard to make a strong case — not because you don't deserve better but because the laws are so weak in this area.

I think it's more important for you to figure out your own personal sense of justice — for instance, I would come up with your own ground rules and perhaps just ask them to stop commenting on your butt. And given that you need the job, I think you have to figure out how to manipulate the situation so you are protecting yourself. You might just ignore them — and then soon hopefully they will stop — some of why they might continue is because they see it as flirting and the second you show that you aren't reacting maybe they will stop. Often times they are motivated only to get a rise out of you. I hope you can find some resolution — and certainly you shouldn't have to tolerate this, but I understand your predicament — it's sadly a common one.

— Amy