The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a well-known Atlanta-area restaurant/nightclub, Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro. The agency has alleged that Sirdah Enterprises, Inc. broke the law by permitting, on an ongoing basis, sexual harassment to take place with respect to its female servers throughout the course of their careers with the company.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employment discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex or national origin” is strictly prohibited. Courts have interpreted Title VII to cover things other than discrimination, such as discharges based on race and/or sex, and harassment. Regardless of whether the harassed individual is a man or a woman, if he or she is subjected to ongoing offensive and unwelcome conduct based on sex, and the individual complains to his or her employer, but the employer fails to act, the individual will likely have a strong case for sexual harassment.
What Happened at Taboo 2?
According to the suit, the sexual harassment, which was being perpetrated by a restaurant manager, was ongoing and took place daily for some of the six servers who worked at the restaurant. Some of the workers were groped and subjected to sexually explicit comments and indecent exposure. Some of the servers were also approached for sexual favors and promised better work assignments and/or other benefits if they participated in sexual acts. Anyone who rejected the sexual propositions was assigned to a portion of the restaurant that was not as profitable or her work schedule was changed in a way that led to lower earning opportunities. The employees complained to other members of management about the harassment; however, no action was taken to stop it.
The agency attempted to reach a voluntary settlement with the company; however, it was unsuccessful in doing so. That said, the agency seeks to recover not only back pay for the servers, but also compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief that is designed to prevent future instances of similar misconduct.
Unbearable Working Conditions Due to Sexual Harassment
The agency also claimed that due to the fact that the work conditions were so unbearable, five of the six women subject to the harassment were forced to resign because they were no longer able to deal with the constant abuse. According to the EEOC’s district director, this case involves “gross sexual harassment where a manager, an individual normally entrusted with ensuring that the rights of employees are protected, took advantage of these women by abusing his position of power.”
Aspects of Sexual Harassment to Keep in Mind
Sadly, many people who are subjected to acts of sexual harassment are often scared to report it because they fear that they might lose their jobs. While that is certainly an understandable fear, individuals should be aware that they are protected by the law.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and you have questions about your legal rights, speak with an Atlanta sexual harassment lawyer at Parks, Chesin & Walbert as soon as possible. Let us help you fight for your rights under the law.