At least half of a dozen women have filed a lawsuit against New York City’s iconic Plaza Hotel.
The suit filed in New York state court on Tuesday accuses the property’s ownership and management of abetting incessant sexual harassment. The plaintiffs include four current employees and two former workers.
“While patrons enjoy the iconic culture of The Plaza, many of its female employees are forced to endure a culture of a different type—rape culture—where the institutional attitude has the effect of normalizing and trivializing sexual assault and abuse,” the complaint states.
“Unbeknownst to the tourists and social and cultural leaders who frequent The Palm Court and The Plaza, however, the female staff members who guide them to their seats and serve their tea are regularly subjected to outrageous and incessant sexual harassment and assault by senior management and their male counterparts.”
Plaintiff Dana Lewis alleges the General Manager of the Palm Court, Christian Floren, sexually assaulted her twice in a coat check closet.
Another plaintiff, Veronica Owusu, accuses a male server of hugging her from behind in an elevator after making vulgar comments.
Lewis, Owusu and the other plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages from The Plaza’s owner, the Sahara Group, as well as its management company, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
One of the women’s attorneys, Andrew Goodstadt, told Bloomberg BNA that they expect other women to come forward with similar complaints in wake of the suit. However, it’s unclear whether the case will grow into a class action.
The Plaza is a New York institution, having been featured in countless books, television shows and movies, including “Home Alone 2” and “The Great Gatsby.”
The five-star hotel has been around for more than a century and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.