A Pittsburgh cocktail waitress has been award more than $1 million dollars in a lawsuit against the Rivers Casino. According to the Associated Press, Allyson Pelesky was working at the casino in April 2014 when a high-roller tipped her by placing a $1 chip in her bra, touching her breast. The incident was reported to police, but Pelesky agreed not to press charges since the casino had placed a lifetime ban on the player. However, 40 days later it removed the ban, allowing the player to return. "From the very beginning, all I asked was that this man did not come back to the casino. I didn’t want to have to see him every day," she says, adding that she’s been teased by employees since the incident.
Pelesky filed a lawsuit arguing that the Rivers Casino violated its zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy by allowing the "Signature Card" player to return, Trib Live reports. The federal jury awarded her $150,000 in compensation and an additional $999,000 in punitive damages. Tim Barry, attorney for the waitress, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he believes the casino let the customer return because he was a high-roller. Jack Horner, a representative for the casino, says it disagrees with the verdict and is considering options.
Unfortunately, Pelesky’s experience is all too common in the restaurant industry. Last fall, The Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC) released a 34-page report detailing the high prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry both within the work place and by customers. Approximately 90 percent of female restaurant workers experience some type of sexual harassment, the report confirms. "Whether you're a waitress or a manager, it doesn't matter. We just deserve respect," Pelesky tells the Associated Press.
See the full report below: