SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Dec. 30 that Mexicali Chicken & Salads in El Centro, Calif., will pay $27,692 after allegations a female employee was sexually harassed by her manager and then fired for complaining.
"No employee should feel that they have to consent to unwanted sexual advances in order to maintain their employment," said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes California's Imperial County. "Employers have a duty under the law to not only investigate claims of harassment but to also provide a workplace free of reprisal. Mexicali failed to engage in these efforts and the decision by the court will send a clear message to all employers that harassment and retaliation will not be tolerated."
According to the EEOC, the manager of the restaurant harassed a young shift supervisor. The female employee purportedly rejected his advances and complained to another manager about the incident. The EEOC argued the female employee was terminated within days of her complaint. Alleged conduct of this nature violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Young workers can be more vulnerable to harassment in the workplace, as they may be unaware of their rights and the protections afforded to them by federal law," said Christopher Green, director for EEOC's San Diego local office. "Employers should have appropriate anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures in place to protect their workers from unwelcome behavior and retaliation."