Sexual Harassment in The New York City Hospitality Industry

New York City is an icon for the rich and famous.  It is also known for its extravagant restaurants and exclusive nightlife. However, for many young women and men working in the NYC hospitality industry, incidents of sexual harassment are very common.  According to a recent report, 8 in 10 hospitality workers have experienced being sexually harassed.

There are many federal laws, as well as many state statutes and city ordinances that govern sexual harassment in the workplace.  According to the law, any unwelcome sexual advances, comments or actions constitute sexual harassment. Advances may be by a co-worker, supervisor, or anyone else in a place of authority. When a person brings an issue of sexual harassment to the attention of a superior or boss, the employer is responsible for addressing the problem and taking action. If not, an employer will be liable regardless of being directly involved in the sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment occurs in the following ways:

  • Touched inappropriately;
  • Vulgar or offensive comments;
  • Aggressive and unwelcomed sexual advances, including touching, rubbing or groping;
  • Graphic remarks;
  • Sexual gestures;
  • Inappropriate photographs;
  • Inquiring about a person’s sexual preference or any other question related to sex or sexual acts;
  • Sending inappropriate pictures;
  • Sending suggestive emails or texts;
  • Sexual jokes; and
  • Inappropriate starring, among others.

A victim of sexual harassment may be compensated for the harm he or she experienced. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is prohibited because it is a form of gender discrimination. In accordance with the law, a sexual harassment claim may be filed with the following agencies:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
  • New York State Division of Human Rights; and
  • New York City Commission on Human Rights.

While New York does not tolerate sexual harassment, it does have a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, which means that victims of sexual harassment must act before their claim is barred.

If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment while working in the hospitality industry, contact an experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack, The Employees Lawyer™ at (917) 371-8000 or email him at



2 thoughts on “Sexual Harassment in The New York City Hospitality Industry”

  1. I feel very bad to tell you this is not only in New York City this is almost in every city I live in California and worked in a cafe and my senior trying to harass me and I was so confused that what to do, for a moment I was standing numb and suddenly walk off from there next day I reported to my cafe owner and he did not act as I was thinking and I resign from the cafe. For that, the Government should amend new laws, as rules are tough nobody will think of it again.

  2. I like that this post shared that when looking for a hospitality attorney, it is advisable we ensure they are experienced. It makes sense as in doing so, we can be certain that they are qualified and skilled. I will definitely keep this information in mind when I look for an attorney to hire.

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