Several Young Mexican-American Males Secretly Videotaped in Men's Room, Federal Agency Charged
SAN DIEGO - A San Ysidro, Calif., restaurant will pay $27,500 and furnish remedial relief to settle a male-on-male class sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Salum Revilla Enterprises, L.L.C., doing business as Achiote Restaurant, subjected young, male Mexican-American workers, aged 19-21, to sexual harassment, and retaliated against one of them after he complained. The harasser, a 24-year-old male, secretly videotaped younger male co-workers using the men's bathroom, EEOC charged.
Further, EEOC said, Mario Campos, a harassment victim who complained, was subjected to unlawful retaliation when he was demoted to busing tables from a server position, his work hours were reduced, was given an unfavorable work schedule, and issued excessive and unwarranted discipline.
As part of the settlement by consent decree, in addition to providing $27,500 for the harassment victims, Achiote Restaurant will revise its policies regarding harassment and retaliation; provide annual training for all employees and managers on anti-discrimination policies and practices; retain an equal employment monitor to assist with training and revising its policies; post an employee notice; and undertake record keeping and reporting to EEOC.
"We commend this employer for agreeing to implement comprehensive remedial relief to foster a discrimination-free workplace going forward," said Anna Y. Park, EEOC's regional attorney for the Los Angeles District, which oversees San Diego. "Small businesses are encouraged to ensure they know EEO laws. EEOC is particularly mindful of protecting young vulnerable workers from harassment and retaliation like the ones in this case."
EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Salum Revilla Enterprises, LLC dba Achiote Restaurant, Case No. 3:15-cv-01974-LAB-RBB) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sex and retaliation.
Mario Campos said, "Even though I was afraid of losing my job after complaining about the sexual harassment, I am now glad that I stood up to assert my right to a workplace free of discrimination."
Christopher Green, director of EEOC's San Diego Local Office, said, "Retaliation claims are on the rise, comprising 45% of all EEOC charges filed nationally. It is imperative for employers to effectively stop and remedy workplace harassment and ensure that workers who report it do not suffer retaliation."
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the agency's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
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.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.