Restaurant in California Pays $27K to Resolve EEOC Lawsuit Alleging Harassment of Woman

Sexual harassment when unchecked continues to cost employers big bucks.

The end of the year brought that reality home to a restaurant in California.

Chicken & Salads, an El Centro, Calif.-based restaurant, agreed to pay $27,692 to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of a female employee who was sexually harassed by her manager and then fired when she complained, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Friday.

EEOC charged that the restaurant manager sexually harassed a young shift supervisor, who rejected his advances and shortly thereafter complained of the harassing behavior to another manager.

Within days of the employee’s complaint and rejection of the manager’s sexual advances, the female employee was terminated.

The federal court found a substantial monetary amount was warranted, recognizing that “Mexicali Chicken’s conduct, through its managers’ actions and inaction, was wrongful and flagrantly violated federal law.”

“No employee should feel that they have to consent to unwanted sexual advances in order to maintain their employment,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes California’s Imperial County. “Employers have a duty under the law to not only investigate claims of harassment but to also provide a workplace free of reprisal. Mexicali failed to engage in these efforts and the decision by the court will send a clear message to all employers that harassment and retaliation will not be tolerated.”

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