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Former Waitresses Accusing New York Restaurant of Sexual Harassment Prevail in Defeating Summary Judgment Motion

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court affirmed that Kristen McRedmond and Alexandria Lipton should receive their day in court. Ms. McRedmond and Ms. Lipton claim that they were sexually harassed and unlawfully terminated during their employment as waitresses at Sutton Place Restaurant and Bar.

Ms. Lipton, who is now an attorney, alleges that the evening shift manager at Sutton Place Restaurant and Bar, asked her in the presence of other employees how much she weighed and even went so far as to mandate that she lose weight. Ms. Lipton also claims that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment by offering her massages on a frequent basis and asking her about pornographic movies. Additionally, Ms. Lipton alleges that the manager would not let her eat during her shift, which was, at times, as long as 10 hours. According to Ms. Lipton's complaint, her supervisor allegedly made comments about the restaurant's female patrons by saying things like, "She's a stupid [expletive], she's ugly, she's fat, she's disgusting, get her the [expletive] out of here."

Ms. McRedmond, who is now a teacher, makes similar allegations, claiming that he made disgusting sexual comments and touched her inappropriately during her shifts at the restaurant. Additionally, Ms. McRedmond alleges that, after repeatedly asking her what she weighed, she was forcibly picked up and put on the scale to settle a poll among the male employees about how much she weighed. When Ms. McRedmond refused to get on the scale, she claims she was told she could not leave the manager's office until she got weighed.

Sutton Place Restaurant and Bar denies any unlawful conduct and maintains that the two women were terminated due to documented performance issues. The restaurant claims that Ms. McRedmond's performance deficiencies included sending text messages and eating without permission during her shift.

The manager claims that the he had a friendly relationship with Ms. McRedmond and that, according to the court documents, would "often joke around with me about my weight, grab my stomach in connection therewith and also joke about [his] accent." Sutton Place Restaurant and Bar admits that a scale was brought into the restaurant by two male employees who were trying to lose weight. The restaurant does not dispute that Ms. McRedmond may have been asked to get on the scale but categorizes it as "a lighthearted exchange . . ."

The Appellate Division affirmed that a jury should decide the claims brought by Ms. McRedmond and Ms. Lipton. The women's claims include sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, battery, hostile work environment, retaliation and unlawful imprisonment. According to the complaint, Ms. McRedmond and Ms. Lipton collectively seek $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages from their former employer.

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