Group planning new initiative to combat sexual harassment in restaurant industry

Group planning new initiative to combat sexual harassment in restaurant industry
Council members listen to a presentation by the group Shift Change.

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The group known as Shift Change is hoping to make a big change in the restaurant industry, an industry they say has a serious problem with sexual harassment.

At Thursday's City Council meeting, members of the group pitched their plan to implement a curriculum of training that would allow restaurants to receive certification if 90 percent of employees complete the sexual harassment training program.

The members of the group say the demand for the program is overwhelming, and by September they hope to begin the training sessions and a program that would provide support to restaurant and bar workers who are affected by harassment. The support includes resources for people who need counseling, medical, or criminal help. It would even include financial aid that would supplement pay if a worker needs to switch jobs.

"We're looking at the roots of sexual violence we're looking at how to make our places safer, to begin with, while that is obviously the hope we recognize that that's not where our culture is at that's not realistic so at least in the first five or ten years of our program there will be a very intensive follow up so once you've gone through the shift change certification, that's not where it ends," Caroline Richter, a member of Shift Change, said.

The group says they're also planning on taking their initiatives to other cities with presentations planned in Richmond and Detroit.

During the presentation, the city council said they would plan to pass a resolution at their next council meeting in support of the group's efforts.

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