Uh oh. Just on the heels of it’s newest expansion, it seems Tavern on the Green isn’t doing so well. Yesterday, the famed NYC restaurant lost big in a sexual and racial discrimination lawsuit brought on by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to this article in the New York Times, the Tavern must pay $2.2 million in damages. The lawsuit, which claimed that the restaurant had “engaged in severe and pervasive” sexual and racial harassment of female, black and Hispanic employees, included more than 50 people who were victims of harassment over the past nine years.
Martha Nyakim Gatkuoth, a 25-year-old former hostess at Tavern on the Green, wept openly during the news conference as she described her four-year tenure at the restaurant as “a living hell.” “This has been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through,” she said. “This man has terrorized me and many others.”
The restaurant, however, denies any wrongdoing, claiming that many of the accused are no longer associated with the Tavern. Even so, as outlined by the lawsuit, Tavern on the Green must now establish a telephone hotline for employees to report any discrimination complaints.
“Unfortunately, the restaurant industry is still rife with harassment, and well-known, high-end restaurants are no exception to this,” Kam S. Wong, a lawyer for the commission. “This settlement should send a very clear message to remind all employers and employees alike that the E.E.O.C. is here to vindicate their right to be free from discrimination in the workplace.”