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Tyee ‘Slaves to Tips’ Series Honoured at Webster Awards

Reporter Rachel Sanders’ work led to changes in regulations.

Tyee Staff 13 Oct

Rachel Sanders was honoured at the Webster Awards Thursday for her Tyee series on sexism in the restaurant industry.

Sanders was recognized as a finalist in the business, industry and economics category.

Her three-part series “Slaves to Tips: How BC Laws Fuel Sexism on the Job” exposed widespread sexual harassment and discrimination faced by women workers in restaurants and bars.

Sanders shared the stories of many women who had dealt with sexual harassment while working in the industry.

Her articles explored the causes, from the lower minimum wage for servers to a lack of effective enforcement of the Employment Standards Act.

The articles led to immediate action, as the government changed regulations under the Workers Compensation Act to prevent restaurants and bars from requiring servers to wear high heels on the job.

The government has also launched a review of the lower minimum wage for servers, who can be paid $10.10, compared to the general minimum wage of $11.35.

Sanders said the awards were “inspiring.”

“I was at the Websters last year as a student and it was thrilling to be there again this year as a finalist,” she said. “It was an honour to be named among some of the best journalists in the province and inspiring to see the great work that was recognized and rewarded.”

“I’m grateful to The Tyee — especially David Beers and Robyn Smith — for giving me the opportunity to do this kind of reporting, Sanders added. “Now that the Websters are over, it’s time to buckle back down and do some more.”

“Being a Webster finalist is a great credit to Rachel’s reporting and to the editors that worked with her,” said Barry Link, editor of the Tyee. “The story was important to the people she wrote about, it was important to our readers and it was important to the government that changed working conditions for women as a result of the story. It's the kind of journalism we aspire to.”

The other finalist in the category was Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe and Mail for “Losing the Farm.” The Webster Award went to the CBC Vancouver team of Erica Johnson, James Roberts, Amar Parmar, Karen Burgess and Alison Broddle for “The Big Sell: How bank employees turn customers into targets.”

The Webster Awards, named for broadcaster and writer Jack Webster, recognize B.C.’s best reporting and commentary across all news media.  [Tyee]

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