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Gender & Race Discrimination Plague California Restaurant Industry, Study Reveals

Gender & Race Discrimination Plague California Restaurant Industry, Study Reveals

Gender & Race Discrimination Plague California Restaurant Industry, Study Reveals

Women and minorities who work in the California restaurant industry are commonly subjected to discrimination, particularly when it comes to job opportunities and wages, a new study from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz reveals.

This study, entitled Ending Jim Crow in America’s Restaurants: Racial & Gender Occupational Segregation in the Restaurant Industry, reportedly discovered that, while white males in the restaurant industry in California earn the highest wages, women and minorities generally:

  • Only earn a fraction of what white male restaurant workers earn
  • Are not offered the same positions or opportunities for advancement as white males.

Explaining these findings in the Executive Summary of the study, researchers noted that:

While Jim Crow regulated the enforced separation between white and African American patrons in restaurants, today we largely find that restaurant workers are effectively segregated by race and gender by a partition between livable-wage server and bartender positions and poverty wage busser, runner, and kitchen positions, and between limited service (fast food), full service casual, and full service fine-dining restaurants.

White males appear to be afforded the opportunity to work in the highest paying, most exclusive bartender and server positions in fine-dining restaurants; women, in general, appear channeled towards lower paying positions in casual full-service restaurants; while Latinos and African Americans seem largely channeled to lower paying busser, runner, or kitchen positions in full service restaurants and to limited-service, fast food establishments

Specific Findings

As a result of extensive quantitative data analysis, researchers conducting this study specifically found that:

  • While the average hourly wage for a white male restaurant worker in California is $14.18, non-white males earned about 18 percent less, with an average hourly wage of $11.63.
  • Women, in general, earned less than men in the California restaurant industry, with white women earning an average hourly wage of $11.30 and non-white women earning an average wage of $10.13.
  • In terms of management positions, more than 80 percent of these jobs were filled by white workers, with the majority of these employees being male.
  • In terms of restaurant kitchen and back-of-house jobs, minorities tended to hold these positions, with Hispanic workers occupying about 65 percent of these positions.
  • In general, front-of-house restaurant workers tend to earn about 12 percent more than back-of-house workers.

Commenting on these findings, U.C. Santa Cruz Researcher Chris Benner explained that:

What became clear in interviews is that it’s a complex issue… Each of these actors have real barriers as well as perceived barriers to getting higher pay. … A lot more research has to happen.

Contact a Los Angeles Discrimination Attorney at Urbanic & Associates

Have you been the target of workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation? If so, you can turn to Los Angeles discrimination attorney at Urbanic & Associates for help defending your rights and pursuing justice. Since 2000, our lawyers have been dedicated, aggressive advocates for our clients, helping them stand up to even the most formidable opponents in any legal setting.

Call us at (310) 216-0900 or send our firm an email using the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in Los Angeles, Attorney James Urbanic provides superior representation to clients throughout Los Angeles County and southern California, including (but not limited to) those in Glendale, Burbank, Alhambra, Van Nuys, Santa Monica and Orange County.