The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently finished prosecuting a case involving severe sexual harassment as well as gender and race discrimination against New York’s landmark restaurant, Tavern on the Green. According to the EEOC, Tavern on the Green subjected female, black, and Hispanic employees to continual lewd and degrading conduct. Female employees were allegedly forced to endure demands for sexual acts as well as various forms of groping and inappropriate touching. Black and Hispanic employees also allegedly experienced racial epithets and ridicule for their accents.
The EEOC, which brought the suit on behalf of 50 employees, was successful in securing a settlement of $2.2 million. As part of the settlement, Tavern on the Green is also required to establish a telephone hotline for employees to report discrimination complaints. In its Press Release, EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis made clear the duty that employers owe to their workers:
This case should remind employers to take seriously allegations of harassment and retaliation, especially where managers in positions of authority are involved in the misconduct.
According to Professor Marcia McCormick of Cumberland School of Law (Samford University), the lawsuit signified a victory for the EEOC’s EEOC’s E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment), which was launched in 2008 to eliminate race discrimination from the workplace by enhancing public awareness and through litigating unlawful employment practices.
For more information, please visit the New York Times’ article entitled, Tavern on the Green to Pay $2.2 Million to Settle Harassment Claim.