Attorney General James Secures Settlement For Victims Of Sexual Harassment And Discrimination At Spotted Pig Restaurant

$240,000 and 10-Year Profit Share Given to 11 Former Employees
of Kenneth Friedman-Owned West Village Restaurant

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James today announced a settlement awarding $240,000 and a 10-year profit sharing arrangement for 11 former employees with Kenneth Friedman, the owner and operator of New York City’s West Village restaurant The Spotted Pig. An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s office found that the restaurant maintained a hostile workplace where numerous female employees were subjected to severe and pervasive incidents of unwanted touching and unwelcomed sexual advances by Friedman.

“No matter how high-profile the establishment, or how seemingly powerful the owners, today’s settlement reiterates the fact that we will not tolerate sexual harassment of any form in the workplace,” said Attorney General James. “In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, victims of workplace harassment and discrimination are standing up and speaking out against injustices that have long been ignored. Every individual deserves to go to work free of fear, abuse, intimidation, and retaliation. I thank the women of The Spotted Pig for their bravery, their voices, and their unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe, harassment-free workplace.”

Since 2004, The Spotted Pig has maintained a working environment where Friedman and other celebrity customers regularly made sexually explicit comments and gestures toward female staff members. On more than one occasion, Friedman forcibly kissed employees and pressured them to send him nude photos. 

The restaurant failed to systematically address or take adequate action against such unlawful behavior in response to complaints, and in fact discouraged the reporting of these complaints. Complainants were either dismissed or retaliated against by being terminated for false reasons after a complaint was made.

In addition to the monetary compensation, as part of the settlement, The Spotted Pig agreed to implement new policies, which inform employees of their rights under the law, and to provide and require training for its employees and managers on anti-sexual harassment, discrimination, hostile work environment, and anti-retaliation protections under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law. Friedman has also agreed to step down as operator of The Spotted Pig, and he will no longer have a role and/or any supervisory authority, in The Spotted Pig’s operations or management. Friedman will retain his shares in the company, however, he is required to share 20% of all future profits earned from The Spotted Pig, with the former employees and victims of sexual harassment, for a 10-year term.

This case was handled by Senior Counsel in the Civil Rights Bureau Sandra Pullman,  Civil Enforcement Section Chief Ming-Qi Chu, Assistant Attorney General Roya Sadiqi, and Conviction Review Board Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jessica Clarke and Deputy Bureau Chief Elena Goldstein of the Civil Rights Bureau and with assistance from Data Analyst Anushua Choudhury and Deputy Director Megan Thorsfeldt of the Research and Analytics Department. The Social Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux.

 

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