New York restaurant group to resolve EEOC sexual harassment complaint

A New York restaurant group agreed to pay $ 125,000 to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit against a restaurant group that accused one of the chefs of his exploitation of sexual harassment.

The agency said on Friday that the chef at Liberty Warehouse, a popular Brooklyn wedding venue operated by Liberty Events LLC, allegedly subjected a class of kitchen workers to sexual harassment and gender discrimination, including touching, sexual comments, throwing objects at women. and belittle them according to their gender in front of colleagues.

The EEOC also said the chef made an employee’s raises contingent on her sleeping with him and when she refused he withheld a bonus, stopped awarding her tasks and eventually fired her.

The agency said company management refused to act when they reported the behavior and asked her to end the harassment and reinstate her.

The EEOC alleged that the restaurant group did not have an anti-discrimination policy or training that could have prevented or corrected these alleged illegal acts throughout this period.

The EEOC said the three-and-a-half-year consent decree entered into the case includes the creation of a $ 125,000 claim fund for arrears and emotional distress and other damages suffered by aggrieved employees. . It also includes substantial non-monetary relief, including the creation of anti-discrimination policies, the agency said.

In addition to Liberty Warehouse, the Liberty Events group includes Manhattan restaurants and event spaces The Water Club, The River Café and Pershing Square.

EEOC regional attorney Jeffrey Burstein said in a statement: “Restaurants and event spaces ignore inappropriate behavior in their kitchens at their own risk, as such misconduct often involves unlawful discrimination, including not only sexual harassment, but also degrading treatment based on the protected characteristics of an employee. ”

Lawyers for the restaurant group could not be reached for comment.

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