Agreement Resolves Claims of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
D.C.— Sol Mexican Grill, LLC and Sol Mexican Grill Two, LLC, (“Sol Mexican Grill”), which own and operate several restaurants in Washington, D.C., will pay $50,000 and furnish equitable relief to resolve a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
According to the lawsuit, female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by a Sol Mexican Grill supervisor. The harassment included unwelcome sexual comments and propositions and unwelcome physical contact. When the employees complained about harassment, Sol Mexican Grill failed to adequately respond to the harassment and instead retaliated against the female employees by reducing their work hours or firing them for objecting to and complaining about the harassment, and for participating in the EEOC’s investigation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation and employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the United States District Count for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-2227) on September 26, 2018, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to $50,000 in monetary relief that will be paid to two victims of the harassment, the consent decree resolving the suit provides for injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The consent decree requires Sol Mexican Grill to retain an external consultant with expertise in Title VII compliance to investigate any complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation. Sol Mexican Grill must also disseminate a revised sexual harassment policy in English and Spanish, provide training to all employees on preventing and reporting sexual harassment, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC. The supervisor whom the EEOC says was responsible for the harassment no longer works for Sol Mexican Grill.
“Low-wage restaurant workers are too often victims of sexual harassment. These workers, and their employers, all benefit from implementing policies and procedures to prevent and address harassment,” said Acting Washington Field Office Director Mindy Weinstein.
“Several lawsuits in recent years addressing sexual harassment in the restaurant industry have been resolved through consent decrees that have compensated the victims and put safeguards in place to prevent future harassment,” said Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.
The Philadelphia District Office of EEOC oversees Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the Philadelphia District Office of EEOC also prosecutes discrimination cases from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.