EEOC Settles Tex-Mex Restaurant Servers’ Sexual Harassment Case for $40,000

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and harassment based on sex, including sexual orientation.

On August 9, 2019, the EEOC announced the $40,000 resolution of its harassment lawsuit against Virginia-based El Tio Tex- Mex Grill (El Tio).

The government alleged El Tio employees routinely sexually harassed a gay male server and his heterosexual co-worker with homophobic comments and taunts about their sexuality and friendship. Both claimed to have reported the harassment multiple times but that management ignored their complaints.

To settle the case, El Tio agreed to pay $40,000 to the two employees, implement effective policies and complaint procedures, and train all staff on the new policies and workplace harassment issues.

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence commented, “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that no employee or applicant is discriminated against or harassed based on sexual orientation. We are gratified that El Tio worked with the EEOC to reach an amicable resolution of this lawsuit. The consent decree includes significant equitable relief that will benefit all company employees.”

This case is another example of why employers should properly and effectively respond to an employee’s sexual harassment complaints. In addition to sexual harassment prevention training and properly-worded anti-harassment policy, employers should ensure all workers are correctly educated on various forms of inappropriate harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

See also,

We provide live on-site anti-harassment training for all California employees for a flat fee.  We also provide anti-harassment policies within our employee handbook.

For information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

August 15, 2019

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