Intolerable Conditions at Iowa Restaurant Forced Female Employees to Quit, Federal Agency Charges
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Los Agaves, Inc., which operates restaurants in Iowa and Illinois, violated federal law when it subjected female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, female employees at the Los Agaves restaurant in Davenport, Iowa, endured serious and widespread sexual harassment by male supervisors and co-workers. The harassment included unwanted sexual touching and groping, sexual solicitation, threats, and offensive sexual comments towards female employees. Multiple employees reported the harassment to the restaurant’s management, but the company permitted the harassment to continue, creating intolerable workplace conditions forcing several female employees to quit. Los Agaves also retaliated against women who reported the harassment, including one female employee who was terminated after objecting to the misconduct.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, and prohibits retaliation against employees who object to such harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Civil Action No. 3:23-cv-00065), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks monetary relief for the women harmed by these illegal practices, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent Los Agaves from engaging in further discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry remains a serious problem,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “Employers who are aware of unlawful harassment in their workplaces must address it promptly and effectively.”

“Employees who report illegal harassment are entitled to a prompt remedy, not threats and retaliation,” said Acting Chicago District Director Diane Smason. “The EEOC commends all those who come forward to report discrimination, and the agency takes allegations of retaliation against such individuals very seriously.”

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The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa.

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