Respect in the workplace

Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, Anti-Workplace Abuse

and Anti-Retaliation Policy


OBJECTIVE:   To maintain an environment free from Discrimination, Harassment, Workplace Abuse or Retaliation in Our Workplace

Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC, (“USHG” or the “Company”) is committed to creating a respectful work environment free of discrimination, harassment, workplace abuse and retaliation.  As such, the Company will not tolerate discrimination, sexual or other harassment, or abuse in our workplace.  The Company’s policy applies to all employees, interns, whether paid or unpaid, contractors and persons conducting business with USHG, regardless of immigration status.   The Company also prohibits retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation of alleged discrimination, sexual or other harassment, or workplace abuse.  The Company will take disciplinary action, up to and including employment termination, against anyone found in violation of this policy. 

1.      Our Expectations and the Law Against Discrimination in Our Workplace

As stated in the Company’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, all employment decisions at the Company are based on merit and are made without regard to any legally protected categories.   The protected categories in New York, some of which are also protected by federal law, include:  age, race, religion, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, alienage and citizenship status, sex (including gender, pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity or expression, actual or perceived sexual orientation (which shall include heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality) military status, marital  or partnership status, familial status, caregiver status, predisposing genetic characteristics, status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offense, status as a veteran or active military service member, physical or mental disability, arrest or conviction record, credit history, unemployment status, salary history, or any other category protected by state, federal or local law.

USHG does not discriminate, nor does it tolerate discrimination by any of our colleagues against our employees or any applicant for employment based on any of these legally protected categories in any term, condition or privilege of employment. 


2.      Our Expectations and the Law Against Harassment in our Workplace

Harassment refers to behavior that is related to any category protected under the law and that is personally offensive, intimidating, hostile, or interferes with work performance.  USHG prohibits harassment of any kind, sexual or otherwise.

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful employment discrimination and is strictly prohibited in our workplace.  Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, gender identity, the status of being transgender, sex stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.  Sexual harassment is offensive, is a violation of our policies, is unlawful under federal, state and local law, and may subject USHG to liability for harm to targets of harassment.  As such, all employees are required to work in a manner that prevents sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct.  USHG will discipline employees who engage in sexual harassment, up to and including termination of employment.  USHG will also discipline managers and supervisory personnel who knowingly allow sexual harassment to continue, up to and including termination of employment.

Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual advance, request for sexual favors, sexually explicit or derogatory statements, sexually discriminatory remarks that are offensive or objectionable to the recipient, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature when:

·         Submission to such conduct or communication is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual's employment;

·         Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual, typically when a person in authority trades, or tries to trade, job benefits for sexual favors, which is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual (e.g., implied or overt threats concerning the employee’s job performance evaluation and advancement, promotion, demotion, transfer or other job benefits or detriments);

·         Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work performance or creates and/or perpetuates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, even if the reporting individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment.

Examples of harassment, including sexual harassment, include but are not limited to the following kinds of behavior:

·         Verbal: Epithets; derogatory comments, slurs, or name-calling; sexually explicit, suggestive, or degrading words to describe an individual; sexually explicit jokes, comments, noises, or remarks; racial or ethnic slurs; asking for sexual favors; repeated requests for dates; threats, propositions, unwelcome and unwanted correspondence, phone calls and gifts, or other unwelcome attention.

·         Physical: Assault, impeding or blocking movement, any physical interference with normal work or movement when directed at an individual; unwanted and unwarranted physical contact, such as kissing, touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against, or poking another employee's body, rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults..

·         Visual: Derogatory or offensive posters, cartoons, or drawings; displaying sexual pictures, writings or objects; obscene letters or invitations; staring at or directing attention to an employee's anatomy; leering; sexually oriented or suggestive gestures.

·         Cyber: Using electronic communication, such as e-mail, instant messaging (IM), chat, or messages posted to a website, blog, social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or discussion group or any other form of electronic communication that may be used to engage in visual or verbal harassment of another employee. Calls, texts, emails and social media usage by employees can constitute unlawful workplace harassment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises or not during work hours.

·         Hostile Actions: Actions taken against an individual because of that individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender. This includes, but is not limited to, interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual’s ability to perform their job, sabotaging an individual’s work, bullying, yelling, and name-calling.

·         Sex stereotyping: Sex stereotyping occurs when conduct or personality traits are considered inappropriate simply because they may not conform to other people's ideas or perceptions about how individuals of a particular sex should act or look.

Examples of who can be the perpetrator of harassment, including sexual harassment, include, but are not limited to, the following persons:

·         A coworker of the recipient;

·         A supervisor;

·         A manager;

·         A subordinate;

·         Any third-party including;


o   A non-employee[1];

o   Intern (paid or unpaid);

o   Vendor;

o   Client;

o   Customer;

o   Visitor.

These kinds of behavior can occur in one-on-one interactions among employees or in group settings, and can happen on or off of USHG property. 

Examples of where workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, can occur include, but are not limited to, the following locations:

·         Whenever and wherever employees are fulfilling their work responsibilities including: 

o   On location at any of our businesses;

o   At any USHG-sponsored event;

o   Training seminars;

o   Conferences open to the public;

o   Office parties.

·         Employee interactions during off hours (locations off site and off-hour activities) can be considered extensions of the work environment.

The Company also prohibits employees to sexually harass “non-employees,” such as contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, interns (paid or unpaid), or any other person who provides services under a contract in the workplace or an employee of such service provider. 

The conduct outlined in this policy have sometimes been described as “gray” areas.  As such, it is impossible to define every action or all words that could be interpreted as harassment.  The examples listed above are not meant to be a complete list of inappropriate or objectionable behavior.  As such, no form of harassment, sexual or otherwise, will be tolerated in our workplace. 

The Company would like all employees to make a point of paying attention to reactions to your behavior and any individual’s stated request and preference, and respect their wishes, and treat them in a professional manner, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, religion, disability, nationality, or any other protected characteristic.

3.      USHG’s Complaint and Investigation Procedure:  Reporting and Investigating Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment or Abuse

The Company is determined to resolve possible instances of discrimination, harassment workplace abuse and/or retaliation as quickly and as discreetly as possible. 

Because supervisors are held to a higher standard of behavior, those acting as a supervisor must comply with “mandatory reporting” practices. Supervisors are required to report any harassment that they observe or know of, even if no one is objecting to the harassment. When a supervisor receives a report of harassment, or is otherwise aware of the harassment, it must be promptly reported to the employer, even if:

·         The supervisor or manager thinks the conduct is trivial;

·         The harassed individual asks that it not be reported.

It is important to note that supervisors will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue.

What We Expect from Our Supervisors

All managers of people are expected to ensure a work environment free from discrimination, harassment and workplace abuse. They are responsible for the communication of this policy among their teams. More specifically, all people managers should:

•                   Be fluent in this policy and lead by example;

•                   Encourage their team members to report any violations of this policy before discrimination, harassment or abuse becomes severe or pervasive;

•                   Make the People & Culture Department immediately aware of any inappropriate behavior in the workplace; and

•                   Create a work environment where discrimination, sexual and other harassment, workplace abuse and/or retaliation is not tolerated.

What We Expect from our Employees

If any employee has experienced or observed that a colleague, manager, guest, vendor, visitor or agent of the Company is engaging in discriminating, harassing abusive or retaliatory behavior, the Company strongly encourages the employee to speak up by directly telling the person engaging in the behavior in clear, respectful language that his or her behavior or actions are not appropriate and/or unwelcome and to stop.  The individual may not realize that his or her behavior is offensive and a simple communication may effectively end the behavior.

Second, if that fails to alleviate the problem or if this is too uncomfortable for the employee to tell the individual engaging in the alleged inappropriate behavior, then the Company strongly urges the employee to immediately report the behavior to the Company before it rises to the level of severe or pervasive conduct. 

The Company has established the following mechanisms for employees to report conduct that may violate this policy: 

1.      Speak to your immediate manager;

2.      Speak to any manager who you feel comfortable telling and that person will report it to Human Resources;

3.      Contact the Director of Human Resources, Angie Buonpane,, (646) 747-7209, the Senior Human Resources Manager, Dorina Yuen,, (646) 747-7260;  or email (the People and Culture and Legal Teams);

4.      Contact the Senior Associate General Counsel, Employment, Jennifer F. DiMarco;;

5.      Submit a completed USHG Complaint Form, which can also be found on the Square; or

6.      Contact Lighthouse, our third-party anonymous hotline:

·         Via Phone: English speaking: 833-350-0088

·         Via Phone: Spanish speaking: 800-216-1288

·         Website:

·         Via Email: (please include company name with report)

·         Via Fax: (215) 689-3885.   

What You Should Expect From USHG

Upon receipt of a complaint of discrimination, harassment workplace abuse or retaliation, or should the Company independently become aware of such an issue, the Company the Company will follow its sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation  prevention policies and investigate any claims in accordance with the following steps to promptly and thoroughly investigate the complaint or issue:

1.      The Company will contact the individual who placed the complaint and/or made the Company aware of the issue within 24 hours of the Company receiving the complaint and/or information to discuss next steps and the investigation process.  

2.      The Company will conduct a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation of the employee complaint or issue of concern, which could include witness interviews and the review of documents and/or electronic communications.

3.      The Company will investigate all complaints as discreetly and confidentially as possible.  This means the Company will speak to employee witnesses on an “as needed” basis. 

4.      The Company will conduct a thoughtful and balanced investigation, keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the claims and the importance of maintaining a safe, trusted place for employees making complaints of discrimination, harassment or workplace abuse. 

5.      If the Company finds that discrimination, harassment, abuse or retaliation has occurred, it will take appropriate disciplinary action such as counseling or suspension, up to and including termination of employment of the offending employee, along with any additional remedial or corrective steps necessary to prevent further violations of this policy and/or the law. 

6.      The Company will communicate the results of the investigation to the employee who raised the complaint and/or made the Company aware of the issue.

The Company will take these steps in order to ensure that harassment will not occur in the future.  

In connection with any investigation of discrimination, harassment, abuse or retaliation, the Company will expect all employees called upon to assist in the investigation to fully cooperate with the process.  The Company also recognizes that false accusations may have serious effects on innocent persons.  If, after an investigation, it is clear that an employee who has accused another of violating this policy has maliciously or recklessly made a false accusation, as opposed to a complaint which, even if erroneous, was made in good faith, the accuser will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. 

4.      Discrimination, Harassment or Abuse by a Guest, Vendor, or Other Third Party:

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be the very people we serve, or those with whom we do business, who discriminate against our employees or create a hostile work environment for employees. While the Company cannot take disciplinary action against such third parties, this policy still acts to protect our employees against such inappropriate and unlawful behavior.

If you feel a guest, or another third party with whom you have come in contact as a result of your employment with USHG, has harassed or discriminated against you, please contact your immediate manager or People Operations Manager (“POPs”), or contact any one of the individuals outlined in section 3 above so that USHG can take immediate steps to resolve the situation. 

5.      Protection Against Retaliation

The Company will not tolerate any form of retaliation against any employee who in good faith files a report or opposes discrimination, harassment (sexual or otherwise) or workplace abuse, files a complaint or testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by the Company, a local, state or federal agency. 

Unlawful retaliation can be any action that could discourage an employee from coming forward to make or support a claim of discrimination or sexual harassment.  The adverse action need not be job related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation (e.g., threats of violence outside of working hours).  

Any employee who has engaged in such “protected activity” is protected under federal, state and local law from being retaliated against because of that “protected activity”.

“Protected Activities” with regard to harassment include:

·         Making a complaint to a supervisor, manager, or another person designated by your employer to receive complaints about harassment;

·         Making a report of suspected harassment, even if you are not the recipient;

·         Filing a formal complaint about harassment;

·         Assisting another employee who is complaining of harassment.

Even if the alleged discrimination or harassment does not rise to the level of a violation of law, the employee is protected from retaliation if s/he had a good faith belief that the practices were unlawful. However, this retaliation provision is not intended to protect persons making intentionally false charges of discrimination or harassment.


If you believe that you have experienced or witnessed retaliation, you should immediately report your concern in accordance with the Complaint Procedure outlined above.   Any employee who engages in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.  Behavior does not need to be a violation of law in order to be in violation of this policy. However, in order to establish a claim of retaliation, an individual must be able to show that the adverse action was motivated by the protected activity.

Tell Someone If You Think You Are Being
Subjected to Discrimination, Harassment or Abuse OR If You Witness or Become Aware of Discrimination, Harassment or Abuse in Our Workplace

Tell Someone If You Think You Are Being
Retaliated Against For Reporting Discrimination, Harassment or Workplace Abuse


6.      Other Available Procedures Outside of USHG

The procedures available under this policy do not preempt or supersede any legal procedures or remedies otherwise available to a victim of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation under federal, state, or local law.  While a private attorney is not required to file a complaint with a governmental agency, employees may seek legal advice from an attorney.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is responsible for enforcing Title VII and other federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, sexual harassment and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination, including claims of sexual harassment, against covered employers. An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC anytime within 300 days from the harassment.


The EEOC maintains a New York District Office at:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor

New York, NY 10004

Phone: 1-800-669-4000, Fax: 212-336-3790

TTY:   1-800-669-6820

The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, military status, and other specified classes.  The New York State Division on Human Rights is responsible for enforcing this important New York law and is tasked to investigate and resolve complaints regarding covered employers.  Complaints with DHR may be filed any time within one year of the harassment. 

The New York State Division on Human Rights maintains an office at:

            63 W 125th St #1, New York, NY 10027

            Phone:  (212) 961-8650, Fax: (718) 741-8322



The New York City Human Rights law prohibits discrimination in employment based upon age, alienage or citizenship Status, arrest or conviction record, caregiver status, color, credit history, disability, gender, gender identity, marital or partnership status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion/creed, salary history, sexual orientation, status as victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, status as a veteran or active military service member. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is responsible for enforcing this important New York City law and is tasked to investigate and resolve complaints regarding covered employers.  If an individual did not file at DHR, they can sue directly in state court under the Human Rights Law, within three years of the alleged discrimination. 

The New York City Commission on Human Rights maintains an office at:

            22 Reade St, New York, NY 10007

            Phone:  (212) 306-7450 or (718) 722-3131



Employees may contact any of the agencies listed here regarding workplace harassment, discrimination or retaliation.

[1] A non-employee is someone who is (or is employed by) a contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant, or anyone providing services in the workplace. Protected non-employees include persons commonly referred to as independent contractors, “gig” workers and temporary workers. Also included are persons providing equipment repair, cleaning services or any other services provided pursuant to a contract with the employer.