Queens Business Owners Forced to Pay $200K for Sexual Harassment
FOREST HILLS — Two women were awarded nearly $200,000 in damages after being subjected to "egregious sexual harassment" at their Queens workplaces — including being asked to sleep with clients to bring in business, according to the New York State Division of Human Rights.
In the first incident, the owner of Team Taco Mexico on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, David Orduna, allegedly harassed one his employees from June to November 2009.
At one point he "put his hand under her blouse, grabbing her breasts," according to court documents. The victim then told him "not to bother her" and went "into the bathroom and cried."
Orduna also began to insult the woman at work in front of customers when she turned down his advances and paid her a weekly salary $250 less than other waitresses at the restaurant, officials said.
In the second case, a 30-year-old woman working for Flushing cleaning and contracting company K & K Management Services was allegedly harassed by owner Kwang Wun Kim.
Soon after she began working for the company in April 2010, Kim "went behind [the woman] and touched her buttocks," according to court papers.
Kim also allegedly tried to get the woman to sleep with other men to help create business for the company, according to the court papers.
"Every person is legally entitled to a work environment free of harassment and discrimination," New York State Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights Alphonso David said in a statement.
"Sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our state and the administration will use its powers to prosecute those who violate the law."
Besides the financial penalty, both business owners were required to implement anti-discrimination policies and have mechanisms in place for employees to report harassment.
There was no immediate response from Orduna.
Attempts to reach Kim were unsuccessful.