CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Sept. 8 against Jax LLC, which operates a Golden Corral restaurant in Matthews, North Carolina, for allegations of discriminating against an employee with a disability and subjecting him to a hostile work environment based on his disability and his sex.

According to EEOC, Sean Fernandez was employed as a dishwasher at Matthews Golden Corral. Fernandez has high-functioning autism, which reduces his ability to interact and communicate with others. From around March or April 2014 to January 2016, Fernandez was purportedly discriminated against by a male assistant manager. The assistant manager allegedly created a hostile work environment, verbally abused Fernandez and sexually harassed him.

"All employees, men and women alike, are entitled to a workplace free from sexual harassment," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District. "Likewise, all employees have the right to work without being harassed due to their disabilities. It is particularly alarming when harassment is perpetrated by a supervisor."

The EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the former employee, as well as injunctive relief against the company to prevent future discrimination.

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