Tipping Capital and the Guise of Gratuity: Women Servers' Perspectives of Sexualized Interactions in the Sports Bar and Grill Industry

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Walker, Lisa L.
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Middle Tennessee State University
The masculinized territory of the sports bar and grill provides a complex setting for women servers' experiences of sexualized interactions in the workplace. I explore servers' perspectives of their interactions with customers and the influence of their structure of compensation on their experiences. The results of this analysis are based on interviews with six women servers who had worked in seven sports bar and grills in Tennessee, and field research as an observer within these restaurants. These findings suggest that the form of "tipping capital" that the server's structure of compensation provides to customers may be especially problematic within atmospheres that capitalize on the "sex appeal" of women servers. Their structure of compensation influenced servers' ability to end unwelcomed interactions with customers, and fluctuations in customers' "tipping capital" corresponded to the pace of each restaurant. These findings have specific implications for law and policy related to "third-party" sexual harassment.
Servers, Sexual harassment, Tipping, Women