U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Roswell Restaurant/Nightclub Manager Harassed Waitresses and Forced Them to Quit, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA -A popular Atlanta-area restaurant/nightclub violated federal law by subjecting female servers to a pattern of sexual harassment by a manager, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed recently against Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., which owns and operates Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro in Roswell, Ga. The agency also alleged that the working conditions were so intolerable that five of the women were forced to resign when they could no longer tolerate the abuse.
According to the EEOC's suit, the employer allowed six women to be subjected to repeated acts of sexual harassment by a manager. The sexual harassment occurred throughout the servers' employment, occurring daily for some. It included groping their breasts and buttocks, indecent exposures, explicit sex related comments, requests for sexual favors, and promises of better working assignments and other benefits if they engaged in sexual acts. When some of the servers rejected the sexual advances, they were assigned to less profitable sections of the restaurant or had their work schedules negatively changed, which resulted in lower earning opportunities. Although the employees complained to other management officials about the harassment, nothing was done to stop it from recurring.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (EEOC v. Sirdah Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Taboo 2 Bar & Bistro, No. 1:13-cv-03657) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the servers, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such misconduct in the future.
"This case involves charges of gross sexual harassment where a manager, an individual normally entrusted with ensuring that the rights of employees are protected, took advantage of these women by abusing his position of power," said Bernice Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office.
Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, said, "Taboo 2 was aware of the sexually hostile work environment to which these young women were being subjected, but failed to take remedial measures as required under the law. In addition to vindicating the rights of these seven women, this lawsuit is for the purpose of protecting the rights of current and future female employees."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.