Meet the Tavern on the Green Plaintiff

Tavern on the Green: still in denial.Photo courtesy Tavern on the GreenTavern on the Green paid out $2.2 million in to settle a discrimination suit quietly last month, but an article in today’s Times describes one hostess’ negative experiences there. (The settlement did not require the restaurant to admit any wrongdoing, and indeed ownership released only a boilerplate denial: “Tavern on the Green always has been and will continue to be committed to providing a safe, nondiscriminatory, nonretaliatory work environment for its employees.”) Martha Nyakim Gatkuoth, the lead complainant in the government’s suit, claims she was sexually taunted by the staff and expected to perform sexual acts in exchange for a better schedule. The story, a long and familiar tale in some restaurants, would be sad if it happened to anybody. But Gatkuoth was an Ethiopian refugee who was trying to adopt her 15-year-old brother, still back in Africa, and so was afraid to be out of a job. Her former co-workers are not so sympathetic. One current hostess denied Gatkouth’s account to the paper. “You’re always interacting with guests, so I don’t know how anything like that could have occurred … In my opinion a lot of people went to jump on the bandwagon and say things to the E.E.O.C. because they were looking for a payday.”

To Hostess, a Dream Restaurant Was a Nightmare [NYT]

Earlier: Tavern on the Green Pays Up, Admits No Guilt