U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Agency Alleges That Teenage Employee Was Harassed Because Of His Sexual Orientation
Washington- Capital Restaurant Concepts, Ltd., d/b/a Paolo's GT-LLC, a District of Columbia corporation, violated federal law by subjecting an employee to sex harassment based on his sexual orientation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, during his employment at Paolo's GT-LLC in Georgetown, an 18-year-old gay employee was subjected to workplace harassment by kitchen staff and a dining room employee. The harassment included anti-gay epithets and other offensive comments about the employee's sexuality, taunts about heterosexual sex acts that might "turn" him "straight," and falsetto mimicry. The employee complained to management, but the harassment continued, according to EEOC, and a manager accused the employee of being "too sensitive." EEOC contends that although the employee escalated his complaints to upper management, he was ostracized by his coworkers and thereafter resigned.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination because of sexual stereotyping due to sexual orientation. In fiscal year 2015, 1,181 charges of sexual orientation discrimination were filed with EEOC and state and local agencies nationwide.
EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No.1:16-cv-2477) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief to ensure that no further discrimination takes place.
"The filing of this suit demonstrates EEOC's commitment to combating discrimination based on sexual orientation," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. "No one, particularly a teenager, should be subjected to this type of treatment in the workplace."
Addressing emerging and developing issues, including coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). EEOC has posted materials on its website relating to coverage under Title VII for LGBT individuals.
EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.