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Archive for the 'Sexual Harassment' Category

Nov 15 2011

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment claims. With all the media attention on the subject lately, the number of sexual harassment cases filed each year against restaurants and their owners are escalating at an all too rapid pace. Restaurant owners must now take a pro-active stance to keep such complaints from damaging their operation. All employees, male and female, need to be formally informed as to what types of conduct are unlawful. Assuming that your managers and employees know how to behave without explicit guidelines could be your ticket to the courthouse. A series of Supreme Court decisions have defined what “sexual harassment” means. Those cases, and the interpretive guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), define two distinct types of sexual harassment:

  • quid pro quo (a legal term meaning “this for that”), in which a supervisor demands sexual favors from an employee and threatens to fire the employee if the conditions are not met; and

  • hostile environment, in which a supervisor or employee creates a work environment through verbal or physical conduct that interferes with another co-worker’s job performance or creates an intimidating work environment. A hostile environment is created when unwelcome sexual behavior is repeated. For example, an employee keeps telling off-color jokes after another staff member says they are offensive, or one employee keeps asking another employee for dates after being refused.

GENERAL RULE: An employer’s obligation with regard to sexual harassment arises before any act of harassment even occurs. As such, most lawyers practicing in this field strongly urge their employer-clients to distribute a clear and explicit sexual harassment prohibition policy and reporting procedure. Additionally, Anti-harassment training should occur on a regular basis which should educate managers and other employees as to what conduct is specifically prohibited (including a presentation of hypothetical harassment scenarios) and what to do if the employee believes they have been/are being harassed.

This policy and training is critical because under federal case law, an employer can fulfill its obligation if it takes all reasonable steps to prevent harassment before it occurs and takes effective steps to promptly remedy the harassment after it takes place. If these general principles are consistently and carefully applied, the employer can go a long way towards limiting its exposure and liability for sexual harassment.

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May 10 2009

RESTAURANTS SERVED WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUITS

Published by under Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has targeted the restaurant industry as the “single largest” source of sexual harassment claims. With all the media attention on the subject lately, the number of sexual harassment cases filed each year against restaurants and their owners are escalating at an all too rapid pace. Restaurant owners must now take a pro-active stance to keep such complaints from damaging their operation. All employees, male and female, need to be formally informed as to what types of conduct are unlawful. Assuming that your managers and employees know how to behave without explicit guidelines could be your ticket to the courthouse. A series of Supreme Court decisions have defined what “sexual harassment” means. Those cases, and the interpretive guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), define two distinct types of sexual harassment:

  • quid pro quo (a legal term meaning “this for that”), in which a supervisor demands sexual favors from an employee and threatens to fire the employee if the conditions are not met; and

  • hostile environment, in which a supervisor or employee creates a work environment through verbal or physical conduct that interferes with another co-worker’s job performance or creates an intimidating work environment. A hostile environment is created when unwelcome sexual behavior is repeated. For example, an employee keeps telling off-color jokes after another staff member says they are offensive, or one employee keeps asking another employee for dates after being refused.

GENERAL RULE: An employer’s obligation with regard to sexual harassment arises before any act of harassment even occurs. As such, most lawyers practicing in this field strongly urge their employer-clients to distribute a clear and explicit sexual harassment prohibition policy and reporting procedure. Additionally, Anti-harassment training should occur on a regular basis which should educate managers and other employees as to what conduct is specifically prohibited (including a presentation of hypothetical harassment scenarios) and what to do if the employee believes they have been/are being harassed.

This policy and training is critical because under federal case law, an employer can fulfill its obligation if it takes all reasonable steps to prevent harassment before it occurs and takes effective steps to promptly remedy the harassment after it takes place. If these general principles are consistently and carefully applied, the employer can go a long way towards limiting its exposure and liability for sexual harassment.

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Feb 05 2009

NYC RESTAURANT OWNERS MANUAL

The New York City Mayor’s Office published a terrific guide that should be read by all indiviudals that own, or plan to own, a restaurant in NYC.   Its a terrific resource for the basics of NY restaurant ownership.  Here’s the link to the guide:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/pdf/govpub/2737nycrestaurantguide-81606.pdf

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Apr 30 2008

TAVERN ON THE GREEN SETTLES SEX HARASSMENT SUIT

A New York City landmark restaurant recently settled a suit filed against them for sexual and racial discrimination.  The suit was filed by the EEOC against Tavern on the Green. The Commission claimed that Tavern on the Green took part in sexual and racial harassment against their female, black and Hispanic employees. Leon Drogy, a former manager at the restaurant, was reportedly particularly abusive towards female employees. “Verbally, female employees were subjected to repeated comments related to sexual positions, sexual acts and even asked for sexual favors,” says Kam S. Wong, an attorney for the commission. Drogy also reportedly harassed black and Hispanic employees, calling them “ignorant immigrants” and making fun of their accents.

A $2.2 million settlement was reached in the case, which will reportedly be distributed among more than 50 people who were the victims of the abuse.

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