The owner of the popular Marie Eiffel Market on Shelter Island, New York, is facing a lawsuit filed by eight workers, including six women and two men who are citizens of Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador and Colombia.
Eiffel’s alleged harassment: The plaintiffs, who worked seasonally for Marie Eiffel for four months in 2021 and 2022, alleged sexual assault and harassment by Eiffel. They accused Eiffel of routinely engaging in inappropriate behavior, including spanking employees on the buttocks, groping female employees’ breasts, choking employees and making sexual and discriminatory comments about their race. The filing also claims that Eiffel kissed employees, withheld tips left for workers and physically harmed one worker by bruising their arm.
“Marie acted as though she believed that such egregious behavior was funny,” the lawsuit claims.
InterExchange’s lack of action: The employees are also suing the New York-based company InterExchange, which sponsored their work visas in the U.S. They allege that InterExchange did not take action on their claims of abuse. The workers claimed to have paid fees to secure admission into the J-1 visa program and receive housing provided by Eiffel on the promise of getting a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” in the U.S., but they were instead subjected to a “nightmare.”
Eiffel’s response: Eiffel, who operates additional shops in Greenport and Montauk, denied all allegations and stated that she had not yet been served the lawsuit, according to the Shelter Island Reporter.
“I never abused anybody sexually,” she reportedly said. “I never do that.”
Eiffel suggested that the lawsuit might be rooted in a dispute with a disgruntled employee who she claimed had stolen from her.
The Marie Eiffel Market is located on a dock front location on Shelter Island’s North Ferry Road. It is reportedly a popular destination for locals, tourists and celebrities, with actors Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain having visited.