New York, NY (Law Firm Newswire) January 28, 2020 – As has widely been reported, Kenneth Friedman, owner of The Spotted Pig gastropub, has agreed to a settlement of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination claims. Friedman had been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple staffers, which prompted an investigation by the New York State Attorney General.
The West Village restaurant, known for its high-end pub fare and celebrity clientele, was a hot spot for a burger and people watching. The state began investigating Friedman in 2018, after a number of women raised allegations of sexual harassment. Friedman was accused of groping employees, making sexual advances, and pressuring them for nude photos.
“The sexual harassment claims against the Spotted Pig reflect a culture that is pervasive in the restaurant industry,” said Douglas Lipsky, co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP.
Friedman has agreed to pay the victims a total of $240,000. In addition, Friedman will share 20 percent of his earnings from the restaurant with victims for the next 10 years. He has also agreed to step down from his role in the business; however, he will retain his shares in the company. Finally, the restaurant must put new anti-harassment policies in place.
“The settlement is a strong reminder that the powerful are not above the law and cannot treat their employees however they please,” said Lipksy
While the Spotted Pig has now become notorious for creating a toxic work environment where employees were routinely mistreated, sexual harassment remains far too common in the restaurant industry.
“Restaurants often flippantly disregard harassment claims, asserting a restaurant is a tough place to work. Tough is one thing; a hostile work environment is another,” Lipsky said.
Nonetheless, this settlement has raised the level of awareness of workplace harassment in restaurants in New York and across the country. For those that have been subjected to sexual harassment in a restaurant by an owner, manager, co-worker or patron, it takes a skilled employment lawyer to enforce a plaintiff’s rights.
“The women who came forward with their sexual harassment claims against Ken Friedman should be commended,” said Lipsky. “Many victims of sexual harassment understandably stay silent, fearing further harassment or retaliation. But this shows bad actors will be held accountable when the spotlight gets turned on them,” he said.
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Lipsky Lowe LLP is a premier employment law firm serving clients in New York, New Jersey and throughout the nation regarding employment-related disputes. The practice is dedicated to educating employers about their legal obligations and helping employees enforce their rights. When a plaintiff becomes a client, we will be the strength in their corner.