Lawsuit Accuses Bar Of Weighing Female Workers
Ex-employees Come Out Swinging Against Sutton Place
(CBS) NEW YORK Two ex-waitresses at an East Side bar are suing their former employer, having filed a multimillion-dollar sex-harassment lawsuit, accusing their former bosses of ordering female employees to be weighed as part of a scheme to keep track of their weight.
Alexandria Lipton, 25, and Kristen McRedmond, 27, filed suit in New York Supreme Court against the Sutton Place Bar and Restaurant on Second Avenue near 54th Street.
The two women claim they were humiliated and sexually harassed by their boss, whom they knew only by his first name, Neil. Lipton claims the manager kept tabs on waitresses' poundage by ordering some of them onto a scale in the restaurant's office.
"When they got in the office, they were told and/or coerced into getting onto the scale," Lipton said.
Lipton said she didn't work that day, but when she came back and refused to tell the manager her weight, he guessed it.
"He looked me up and down, looked at the bouncer standing next to him and goes, '135,' and he looks at the bouncer and they nod to each other, and he writes my weight down on a pad of paper," Lipton said.
The two ex-employees are represented by attorney Rosemarie Arnold, who said Redmond physically resisted when a beefy manager tried to pick her up to get her on the scale while another manager looked on.
Arnold said no men were subjected to being weighed; only female workers were singled out for the weigh-ins.
Arnold claims individual weights of her clients and other female workers were tracked on a chart.
"I've been doing sexual-harassment law for more than 25 years, and this has to be the most egregious case of degradation to women that I have ever seen," Arnold said.
Arnold and her co-counsel, Joseph Tacopina, filed suit on Tuesday on behalf of the women against Sutton Place and its owner, Richard Kassis, as well as managers, including Neil, who is listed as "Neil Doe."
As to the alleged treatment, Lipton said, "It's discriminatory. It's unfair. It's demeaning."
She claims that when she and another waitress were overheard complaining of the practice, they were fired.
Joel Simon, attorney for Sutton Place, called the allegations, "A nice piece of fiction." And added, "They (the waitresses) were fired due to their own fault, and not for anything related to these allegations."
Outside the bar, a middle-aged woman called the alleged treatment, "Disgusting. It's double standards." A man in his 30s added, "Wow, that's pretty harsh. In this day and age, that's crazy. I'm surprised."
The lawsuit the two ex-waitresses have filed is hefty, seeking $15 million for each of 11 counts.