Waitresses talk about on-the-job sexual harassment

"My Reality: A Hidden America": Waitressing is a first job for many in the workforce and these women say they have dealt with lewd comments, inappropriate touching and predatory situations at work.
9:43 | 04/21/18

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Transcript for Waitresses talk about on-the-job sexual harassment
My rey, aidden america Repor fonths a torrent of messages from a workplacthat may ba kind of ground zero for sexual harassment in America. Helloabws -- hello -- Hello? Can yell us Youst Rorter: Resurant workers we heard from every part of the country askingto tell THR stories though they're afraid to go on camera. They need theirjobs. Reporter: There are 2.5 llion waitresses and waiters. Wor a wage less than $3.60. That's a paycheck of $4 tips are their lihood. Reporter: She is a veteran server of 20 years 6 differ restaurants since she's still worksh not to giveher name a says she's proud of being a waitress, even though, S take the toll. ???F I could go back, ts the first thing I would do I swear that iou I jgot home fm work, my are kill M myoe hurts, have to keep wrapped because it swells up.take this F. Reporr: We calcathe's walked 12,000 miles serving food. More than NBA player would clock in the games throughout his career. ??? Do my best tthh ??? she's given up buying clothes for herself. She's worked nearly every ho her husband's pay co the mogage. She says every penny she makes goes for school supplies for her children aedand a eg and she knows how we'vl ughed through the years about what waitresses do trn their tips. Go out there and get those tips. Wow. Do you think she thinks have a beaut face or is she just saying that? Well tho work on tips. Reporter: We know it's almost a kind of handbook Wead lipstick, lean over. But it's one thing to laugh an LE it. I'll sa "Hi." You know, "Welcome. What can I do fo what can I get you?" And they'll just say, "Show me your tits." Would you walk into an office sasomebody? Eporter: And because you need the money you try to smile rough commts she say came every week over 20 years. I had one guy say to me, "Oh N walk away all night." Your wife and child siting right nto you. It's a job that it doesn't take edition to do. Itest it doesn't take eduti so I think people perceive us aswe're dumban'll take I because we can'tanything se. Reporter: And it'ju smiling at customeho pay U. O trying to make sure you please the manager because the manager controls which servers T the best son in the room. The ones we want. Near thedows. More customers. Moips. And by the way across this country a huge pag chefs and managers are male. I was told that I would not get a good section if I did not give my manager a . In the restaurant business if you don't have a good section yoke money. A lot of, of women that work in this business are young, singles. They don't hy self esteem.these mana, N spot that the second they walk in the door and they just prey on th It was my first real job. 18 years old. I was 17. Take you from behind. Reporter: Remember one-third of all Americans this was our firsb maybe Thone WHE our parents thought we'd learn our value as person. I at ihop when S 16 years old. Repr:g woman she would meet me to talk. The T re was some hesitation, but she decided to do it anyway for tundreds of thousands ofng girls, E says, artaout. I was a lot tanner back the and sknier. Reporter: Seven years later this is Madison now. Her first job an ihop franchise illinois. What kind of 16-year-old were you? Private school, all girls Whawas the fiworrying thing that made you hat? Commeabout yourutt or your breasts. It was my first job and I ho, know. Reporter: S was a hostess at the register smiling at customers while she says this is what two of the managerso me were doin They would up behind and they would just rub up against me. The so confident, yoow, inmselves and that no one was every gonna say anything. Repter: She says one of them asked her to run a personal errandith him before the shift started, thenage girlot in the car. Happened? Belt and unzipped hints and he- ust led out his penis and it was it was already -- like he was, I don't knit was jusre and then he grabbed the back of my head and pushed my head down. I, um, he St kept pushing my head up and down. He sd, "Well it's worth it if you're not enjoying I um, tn I got ou the car and I went into work. Reporte awards, she says, the franchise owner and those two managers warned the young girl she should say nothing, not onl pjob, but tprotect their families. She continued to work there for one more year. I feel so naive fven going in the carbegin with D, blamed myself for a long time and that's W R talked about it to anyone. Because I thought Mai did someg.eporter: As we talked I thought I could hear a sound from the room. Ill you co out? Reporter: It was her mother sobbing. You're strong than I ever Reporter: Madisons only afteshe left that aurant did she learn there were 10 O women who bn working right there in the Sam franchise and had their stories too. Ey are nowilg suit agast the frame and the op corporation. The franchise owner denied ongoing B gave us N further comment. The ihop corporation would not common the litation, but ey told us they are very concerned about any question of harassment in workplace D hold the franchises to very highndards. What about solutis. A couple bartes in new orleantarted something called shift change. We also talked ton advoca the head of the largest organize for restaurant rk rights. WHE Y'r a woman earning two O three or four dollars, you' living completely off tips. Reporter: At a restaurant in W York I tk with some servers. Simone says every dollar she receives will go to suppher ilor housing and make a dent in her student loan. So Yo living enrely on tips? Right -- Her shift gi in New York that vetan serve in North Carolina is ading to her job. She says she always takes a mite or two think about the young workers and their high hopes. ??? Don't sayt's O ??? tt's the wor news I could hear ??? I just have thattle talk with myself that it's going to have a positive attitude. Reporte is all righ there in that email she sent us months ago. Bring this to light she saysthese young girls don't suffer in sie.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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