Female Employees Were Subjected to Lewd Comments, Inappropriate Physical Contact, and Other Forms of Sexual Harassment, Agency Alleges
WASHINGTON - Sol Mexican Grill, LLC violated federal law when it subjected a class of female employees to sex-based harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, at least three female employees were subjected to repeated and egregious sexual harassment by their supervisor at the Sol Mexican Grill restaurant located in the H Street corridor of Washington, DC. The EEOC alleges that the harasser offered to pay female employees for sex, stalked them inside and outside of the restaurant, and trapped them in isolated areas such as a stairwell, walk-in freezer, and outdoor garbage area. The supervisor is also accused of forcing a female employee to touch his genitals, sending a female employee pictures of his genitals, and grabbing, slapping, and trying to kiss female employees. The women repeatedly rejected the supervisor's advances and reported the harassment to management. Despite the complaints, management failed to take prompt corrective action, allowing the harassment to continue. The EEOC further alleges that the women were subjected to adverse employment actions, including termination, after they rejected the harasser's sexual advances and/or complained to management about the harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, and retaliation against workers who object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the statute. The EEOC filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02227) after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC's suit seeks monetary damages for the class of victims, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct discrimination.
"Employers have a legal obligation to prevent and stop sexual harassment immediately," said Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein. "The EEOC will continue to aggressively enforce laws that combat sexual harassment in the workplace."
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "Federal law protects all employees from being subjected to unwelcome sexual advances and retaliation for opposing such harassment."
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office investigates discrimination charges and prosecutes cases arising out of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, parts of New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The EEOC enforces the nation's laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.