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Family restaurant in New York settles sexual harassment lawsuit

An upstate New York restaurant has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought on behalf of seven women who say that they were subjected to harassment in the workplace for roughly seven years. The restaurant was sold in September 2012, and the new owners were added to the case after purchasing the establishment.

The seven women say that the former owners of the Rouses Point, New York, business routinely made sexual advances toward the women and engaged in other forms of harassing conduct. The women say that owners of the business would grope female workers, make lewd comments and ask the women for sexual favors.

In addition to the remarks and comments, one owner would make sexual gestures while placing props (such as a vegetable) between his legs, according to the employment law litigation. One woman says that she was forced into a storage room and sexually harassed while in the dark room.

The sexual harassment lawsuit was originally filed in August 2011 and the former owners sold the business in September 2012. While the former owners remained in the litigation, the lawsuit was amended to include the new owners as successors.

The lawsuit settled in late September for monetary damages and other provisions aimed at preventing any further harassment issues into the future. Among the provisions of the settlement is a requirement that if the business is sold again, any future owners will be bound by the settlement agreement.

Any kind of workplace discrimination can have deleterious effects upon a worker. When a hostile work environment exists, a worker can suffer not only harm in the workplace itself, but also in life outside work.

New York human rights laws and federal anti-discrimination laws are intended to prohibit such egregious conduct in the workplace. But, when a hostile work environment is allowed to exist despite the laws, an aggrieved worker may be able to seek justice in a discrimination or harassment claim.

Source: EEOC, “Angelo's Pizza & Grill Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $35,000," Sept. 27, 2013

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