BENDEL’S HIT WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUIT
NEW YORK — A former security guard at Henri Bendel’s Fifth Avenue flagship has charged the retailer with sexual harassment. He said he was fired because he ended an intimate relationship with the store’s sportswear manager.
Levon Gostanian said he was fired by Henri Bendel, a division of The Limited Inc., after he complained about actions of the store’s sportswear manager, Anne Kothe, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
In the complaint, Gostanian said Kothe “became unprofessional” toward him after their two-month relationship ended in mid-1994, and approached him during business hours “to continue their sexual relationship.”
Gostanian was a security guard in the store, at 712 Fifth Ave., for five years. He alleged that Kothe demanded massages “frequently during the week and at various times of the day,” which made him feel “extremely uncomfortable.”
When Gostanian complained about Kothe’s “persistent lewd and sexually harassing behavior” in October 1994, he said, he was fired, according to the lawsuit. The former guard said he was told by Bendel officials that he was fired for “misconduct.” A Limited spokeswoman declined to comment.
As a result of his experiences, Gostanian claimed, he suffers from depression and nightmares and has been forced to seek psychiatric help. He is seeking back pay and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. — Fairchild News Service