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Minority restaurant workers in Maine and elsewhere earn far less than white workers

Restaurant Opportunities Center United, an organization dedicated to advancing the interests of restaurant workers, recently released a study of working conditions that focused on restaurants located in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, DC–and Maine. Their research revealed, among other things, that minority restaurant workers disproportionately work the least desirable jobs in restaurants. Consequently, restaurant workers of color earn about $3.70 per hour less than white restaurant workers.

This large disparity in wages could reveal inherent racial discrimination in the restaurant industry. It is illegal under Maine and federal law for a restaurant to steer minority workers towards certain jobs and white workers towards others. It is also illegal for restaurants to pay a worker less because of his race.

If you work in a restaurant and you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of your race, you may not be alone. You should contact an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your rights.