November 2, 2011

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The November 2, 2011 edition of the Omega

Transcript of November 2, 2011

  • The megawww.theomega.caThompson Rivers Universitys Independent Student NewspaperNov. 2, 2011

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    PHOTO BY CORY HOPE

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  • November 2, 20112

    TORONTO (CUP) While youre sitting comfortably in a restaurant, the service will cross your mind. Maybe the drinks took too long to arrive or your appetizer was missing a sauce. But when your server arrives with your meal, smiling and ask-ing if theres anything else they can get you, your mind turns to your food.

    When you f inally assess that tip, you might want to con-sider that your server hasnt eaten for the last eight hours or so.

    Skipping your breaks

    V i r g i n i a Connors, 19, is a second-year child and youth care student at Ryerson. She works part-time as a waitress at Joey at the Eaton Centre.

    She regularly goes four to sev-en hours without a break in the one-inch heels that are a manda-tory part of her uniform.

    Its too busy during the night shifts to take a break, said Con-nors.

    Connors usually chooses to skip her breaks to avoid losing her tables to another server.

    They dont offer breaks, you just know that youre entitled to them. Ive gone almost 10 hours without a break, and thats at my discretion, she said. While Im working I dont notice it so much, as compared to after work and I realize I havent eaten then Im tired.

    According to Ontarios em-ployment standards act, an em-ployee is to work no more than f ive hours straight without a break of at least 30 minutes.

    Jennifer Savage at the Minis-try of Labour said, Its not the choice of the employee, its law.

    According to Savage, if em-

    ployees arent getting their min-imum 30-minute breaks, the em-ployer can be f ined.

    The employer has to ensure they [take their break].

    The inability to take proper breaks is a common problem for servers. Natalie Rineshore, whose name has been changed, is a Ryerson student who works in a sports bar on King Street West.

    If it is a busy night, like a 14-hour shift, you really dont get a break unless you plan ahead

    and take one at 4 oclock before the 5 oclock rush.

    But Rine-shores main concern isnt breaks its the required uniforms.

    Dressing the part

    For Connors at Joey, the heels are a hin-drance, but her

    uniform is otherwise comfort-able as long as the air condition-ing isnt too cold.

    But Rineshore is more upset by her companys dress code.

    Low cut shirt, very low cut, to the point where bra is ex-posed. The cup of the bra, and the wire, everythings exposed. And mini skirts and knee high boots, she said.

    Rineshore said the knee-high boots need to have at least a one-and-a-half to two-inch heel.

    According to Rineshore, some guests dont like the uniforms and have f illed out comment cards about how revealing they are. One guest wrote an online review saying the bar was more akin to an upscale gentlemens club.

    Our managers are all men. So obviously theyre enjoying it and its helping to promote the image of the restaurant that they want, but these comment cards have been f illed out, handed to a manager, the manager reads them, laughs at them, rips them

    up and throws them in the gar-bage, said Rineshore.

    So they dont get sent to cor-porate. No one f inds out about this. And even if they did get sent to corporate, who knows what they would do about it, she said. People have said we make Hooters look like Chuck E. Cheeses.

    Regardless of the clothing, Rineshores main concern is the boots.

    I had to host on the patio in boots, and it was 30 degrees and my legs are sweating, and they get mad if you have a cup of wa-ter on the host stand, because they dont want that image to be portrayed of you just sitting and drinking and socializing, she said.

    They want you to look like youre professional. But Im sweating in my boots, literally.

    Rineshore said people have wiped out on the restaurants ce-ment f loor which has very little friction.

    People could get injured just by falling, she said. Waiting hot plates? You could burn a guest.

    According to Rineshore, the serving staff of about 30 em-ploys only two men and one male bartender. The male servers are not required to wear equally pro-vocative uniforms.

    Jennifer Ramsay, communica-tions coordinator for Torontos Human Rights Legal Support Centre, expressed some con-cerns over Rineshores situation.

    If only the women are being asked to dress provocatively, then that could be [discrimina-tory], she said

    There have been legal cases throughout Canada of female employees f ighting against re-vealing uniforms. The 1982 On-tario case of Ballentyne v. Molly N Me Tavern favoured Susan Ballentyne who was offered a serving job with a topless dress code.

    A 1997 case in Quebec fa-voured female employees when the establishment imposed a uni-form of short skirts, tight tops and high heels, similar to the uni-forms at Rineshores restaurant.

    But the human rights commis-sion doesnt take action against offensive dress codes without a complaint.

    If the employer could argue that its absolutely necessary for them to wear this uniform then thats that, said Ramsay. But she said she f inds it diff icult to believe an employer could argue that successfully.

    Injury reservations

    Kristine Norris, 20, is a fourth-year dance student who was a waitress at Cedarhill Golf and Country Club in Ottawa in 2009.

    Once, while setting up for a banquet, she was asked to set up a nine foot table by herself. It fell on her toe as she tried to take it down.

    She had to ice her foot for about 45 minutes, and she said no report was f iled for her in-jury.

    While that was her only in-

    stance of getting hurt at work, like her fellow servers, she often went without her breaks.

    I would work 14-hour shifts on the hot dog cart I couldnt go to the washroom ever, be-cause I had a cash box, she said.

    In order to go to the bathroom, she would wait for the beverage cart worker to drive over and watch her station, but that wasnt often.

    When Norris was working weddings, she would start at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. and work until 4 a.m. if she was closing.

    She said she would get one 30-minute break if she was lucky.She was warned about the hours and the breaks when she applied for the job, but she took the position anyway.

    Anytime youre in an inter-view, youre just going to [nod] your head and say yes, Norris said.

    You want a paycheque at the end of the day.

    Tip your serverThe Eyeopener (Ryerson)Sarah Del Giallo

    People have

    said we make

    Hooters look

    like Chuck E.

    Cheeses.

    Service industry jobs in hospitality can be inhospitable

    Photo by Lindsay Boeckl/The Eyeopener

    Opinion

    Youre probably not very good at your job

    I was a food and beverage (FB) server for about 15 years, so I know what Im talking about here and Im telling you that though the culture of that industry is changing, its not changing quickly enough for the women fortunate enough to be working in it, and at the same time they should be careful what theyre wishing for because they wont be happy when it completes the shift towards gender equality.

    You have to be better at your job in the FB service industry if youre a guy.

    Bring on the backlash but its true.If you took a poll of people who frequent

    restaurants about which sex they would rather have serving them, you would find that even most men would admit that they generally get better service from a male server.

    It doesnt mean theyd rather be served by

    a guy thats a different idea altogether but they will admit that the level of service will generally be higher.

    You cant get a job as a server just because youre an attractive male well you can but you wont keep it very long if youre not also good at customer service. You simply have to try harder.

    Female servers are used as eye-candy for their business customers in an industry that has failed to recognize that its not such a high percentage of men paying the dining bills anymore.

    Though it is true that youve likely seen an increase in the number of women paying the bill, it is also generally accepted that men are far better tippers than women, which may play a part in the female dominance in the service aspects of FB.

    Hcareers.com, the largest online site for jobs in the hospitality industry, conducted a poll in 2002 in regards to gratuities, and in all regions polled (Canada, the U.S. and the

    UK) Feedback suggests that women expect higher levels of service before tipping.

    While that data is almost ten years old now, it certainly sheds some light on why there is the abundance of women in the front-end of most FB establishments.

    Because its easier for them.And to the women in the above article who

    are complaining about their companys dress codes I say this:

    The skimpy uniforms are designed to make it so you need to put in even less effort than you already have to simply because of your gender. If you really have a problem with the dress code, there are plenty of places that dont require quite so much of your skin to be revealed but youll have to try a lot harder and be a lot better at your job to make a simi-lar amount of money at these establishments.

    And to the women that are complaining about a lack of breaks I say this:

    If youre not taking your breaks because you dont want someone else to get the table

    youll miss if you do decide to eat something (and therefore the gratuity from that table), then youre the one setting your priorities, and youve