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Sexual Harassment

I am a young woman in NYC who recently started managing a popular bar and am the only female manager. I have learned that the bar will be holding numerous bachelor parties in the downstairs area involving strippers. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of having to work in that environment. I feel that stripping is very demeaning to all women and I do not want to be anywhere near such an event. My co-workers are all men and do not seem to understand my concerns and basically brush off my opinions on this subject.

Is it sexual harassment if I must continue to work in an environment that I am uncomfortable in? Yes, I chose to work at a bar, but I did not choose to work at a strip club. Please help.

Thank you,



Dear KW,

As a New Yorker, I'm very curious about what bar you work in. Sexual harassment laws are very tricky and I'm not sure that your situation would qualify. These laws only apply to businesses with more than 50 employees, which is why we hear about such cases mostly in regard to government employees or big business. My guess is that your employer is exempt.

However, this doesn't mean that you can register a complaint. It seems there should be a law against strippers in bars -- like you should need a special permit for this. You can call City Hall and inquire about these regulations and depending on what you learn, you might want to gently remind you employer that he is in violation of some law. Having been to a few strip clubs -- I felt I needed to experience it before I criticized it - I learned that I felt sorry for the ogling male visitors, more so than the female strippers, who seemed removed from the situation. You might want to also try to tell them that this will likely cheapen the bar and make it less appealing. Another tactic would be to just ensure that you don't have to be subjected to it. If they were hosting a party for the KKK would they ask a black waiter to work the party? Probably not and shouldn't expect you to work in a climate that is equally unfriendly.

Good luck.

- Amy


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