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New York Restaurant Owner Paying for Sexual Harassment

Ken Friedman, the principal owner of New York City restaurant The Spotted Pig, is settling claims of sexual harassment brought against him. The Spotted Pig has developed a reputation for attracting VIP clientele and offers an exclusive party room. Two years ago, allegations against Friedman were reported and prompted an investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office. In its investigation, the attorney general’s office found the restaurant has had a hostile and highly sexualized work environment since 2005. Female employees endured severe and pervasive unwanted touching and sexual advances from Friedman and high-profile restaurant guests. Friedman was accused of forcibly kissing employees and pressuring them to send him nude photos. “When complaints were made, Friedman fired the employees or blackballed them in retaliation.” The private third floor of the restaurant was allegedly referred to as “the rape room.”
Friedman will pay $240,000 over two years to the eleven employees who brought claims. In addition​, ​for the next ten years, the former employees will receive 20% of Friedman’s profits, including any money he makes by selling the business. He owns an estimated 75% to 80% of the business. Friedman is stepping down as the operator of the restaurant but will retain his shares. He will no longer have supervisory authority over the employees. The Spotted Pig will implement new policies, informing employees of their rights and provide training to employees and managers on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation.
Friedman issued a statement acknowledging that the settlement will not repair the damage (while also asserting that some of the allegations are untrue), and hopes the settlement will help. He apologized for the harm that he caused and asserted that he will regret his actions for the rest of his life.