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Sexual harassment suit filed against Houston restaurant

According to a recent report, two female bartenders who were employed at the Berryhill Baja Grill in Houston allege they were repeatedly sexually harassed by the restaurant's manager while working. The two bartenders have filed a lawsuit against their former employer accusing the restaurant's management of sexual harassment, employment discrimination and retaliation. The suit alleges the manager constantly harassed and groped them, and on at least one occasion exposed himself to them.

The two said they told the manager to stop and when he didn't they complained to their immediate supervisor as well as the restaurants regional manager. The pair also filed a formal complaint with the corporate office. As if the harassment wasn't bad enough, the two claim that once they filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the restaurant retaliated against them by assigning them less favorable work schedules and apparently fired one of them.

Eventually the harassment became so stressful the second bartender was forced to quit. Their suit states that the Restaurant did not have a sexual harassment policy at the time of their employment, which could leave the business exposed to liability damages, should the lawsuit go to trial. Generally speaking, if a company does not have an established sexual harassment policy that includes procedures for reporting claims and investigating those claims, the EEOC, as well as a jury, may find them liable for the harassment and employment discrimination that follows. In addition to the sexual harassment claim, the first bartender may have a claim for wrongful termination.

No employee should be subjected to sexual harassment, a hostile work environment or retaliation for lodging a legitimate complaint. If you feel your rights as an employee have been violated, consulting with an attorney experienced in employment law can help you understand your rights and determine if you have a case.

Source: Business Management Daily, "Houston restaurant chain faces EEOC harassment suit," May 20, 2012

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