Le Bar Bat, the trendy midtown Manhattan night spot, was hit with a
federal lawsuit yesterday charging the company with sexual and racial
The suit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
also alleges that the company retaliated against some of the women who
filed complaints by distributing fliers in their neighborhoods saying
they were suspected prostitutes, child molesters and drug dealers.
The company's lawyer, Catherine Rogers of Ross & Hardies in
Manhattan, would say only that "we have been dealing with the EEOC on
The EEOC said that it filed the suit on behalf of the company's
white-female workers as well as its male and female African-American
employees. It came after six women, who worked as hostesses and cocktail
waitresses at the bar and restaurant, filed complaints with the agency.
The EEOC charges that beginning in 1995 the women suffered "unwelcome
sexual touching, sexually and racially explicit comments and sexual
Three of the women are African American and three are white. Four
of the six were targets for the alleged retaliation, the EEOC said. The
agency charges that the company used private personnel information,
including photocopies of a driver's license, for the fliers.
"I have never seen a retaliation case like this," said EEOC
supervisory trial lawyer Elizabeth Grossman. "I have never seen an
employer respond so rapidly to legitimate charges of discrimination by
removing private confidential information from employees' personnel
files and distributing it with the intent to harm the employees in
retaliation for filing the charges."
The lawyer representing the six women said she was pleased with
Said Elizabeth Mason of the Manhattan law firm Mason &
Breitenecker, "While it unfortunately is common in sexual harassment
cases for a woman to experience retaliation in the workplace upon
reporting sex discrimination, what makes this case more horrifying is
that four of the six were subjected to a slanderous flier campaign."
A separate federal criminal case that is pending charges a manager
and other employees with trying to obstruct the EEOC investigation by
intimidating the complainants.