Restaurant Pays $15K to Settle EEOC Lawsuit Over Sexual Harassment of Teen Hostess

On this Labor Day, a useful reminder that it’s not just adults whose rights are at stake in the workplace but those of teenagers too.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced last month that a Mexican restaurant in Fresno, California, has settled a Title VII lawsuit stemming from the alleged sexual harassment of a female hostess by her male supervisor in 2009, when she was still a teenager.

According to the action against Sal’s Mexican Restaurant, the supervisor  made unwanted sexual propositions and advances, grabbed her body parts and tried to kiss her.  The hostess further alleged that he required her to give hugs and back rubs as a condition of employment due to her gender.  Her repeated complaints to restaurant management about the behavior were not addressed, and the harassment and discrimination allegedly continued until the hostess felt compelled to resign in 2010.

The restaurant agreed to settle the lawsuit for $15,000 and take other measures to make sure these kinds of alleged violations never occur again, including to hire a third-party consultant to help create, revise and implement new policies and procedures to address and prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and provide all employees with live training on their rights and responsibilities with respect to discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

The EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/), which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination.  The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the workforce.

Read more about the settlement.

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