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Former employees sue country bar for sexual harassment and abuse


In society as a whole and in workplaces in particular, stereotyped gender roles are slowly becoming relics of the past. Women not only get more employment opportunities but also have more chances to develop careers. Unfortunately, some establishments seem to have trouble with the concepts of equality, tolerance and respect. According to former employees, a country bar in midtown Manhattan seems to be one of those establishments.

Six former employees recently filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against country bar Johnny Utah's, a long-time fixture near Rockefeller Plaza. The lawsuit claims that the bar's work environment was highly sexualized and that female employees were degraded and subjected to constant humiliation. The women, who worked as so-called Daisy Duke girls and bartenders, were forced by managers to dress provocatively, make out with co-employees, perform lap dances and topless bull rides and engage in wrestling matches. They were also forced to show themselves as available to patrons by removing engagement and wedding rings.

Female employees who did not comply were subjected to verbal abuse by managers and physical and verbal abuse by the bar's male patrons. To keep their jobs, the women had to endure the abuse; they were also frequently reminded by managers that they were expendable. This is not the first time the Tex-Mex bar with the Wild West theme has been in legal trouble. The bar is well known for its mechanical bull, which is at the center of several personal injury lawsuits.

Sexual innuendos, lewd comments and other forms of inappropriate behavior should never be tolerated in any workplace. Any victim of sexual harassment who wants to emulate the courage of these employees can file a sexual harassment case against a superior or establishment owner. The guidance of a New York employment professional may be invaluable during such a filing.

Source: New York Daily News, "Ex-employees of Johnny Utah's suing over 'hyper-sexualized work environment'," Dareh Gregorian, June 17, 2014

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