Sexual harassment can be a problem anywhere, including the "classiest" of places. New York's famous eatery, Tavern on the Green, has been sued by the EEOC for severe and pervasive sexual harassment of employees. According to the complaint, as quoted in the New York Times, the manager got a little grabby with some of the waitresses. Guess that's what can happen when boys and girls work together on the sidewalks of New York. And for good measure he threw in racial epithets directed at blacks and Hispanics. While the worst allegations target the restaurant's manager, the business itself is potentially liable because, the EEOC charges, it knew or should have known what was happening.
For the record, the defendants deny the allegations.
They had better be right, since the complaint is looking for seven figure money. That's a lot of meals served to tourists.
The point of this little tale is one that we frequently make: businesses must be vigilant to guard against unlawful mistreatment of employees by other employees, and especially managers. There's likely not a business around that actually condones the kind of conduct in which the manager here allegedly engaged. But people sometimes do bad or stupid things that can spill over onto an employer that is trying to comply with the law.
And, as this case shows, unlawfully discriminatory conduct can occur where it might not be expected. Every employer needs to keep a sharp eye out for such conduct, and when it is found, it must be dealt with swiftly and firmly.