Multiple Lawsuits Allege Sexual Harassment, Sexual Orientation Harassment, and Retaliation Filed Against Nevada Restaurants

AMTV/LAS VEGAS, Aug 24 – – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced four lawsuits against local restaurants in the Las Vegas and Southern Nevada area this week.

Lawsuits filed against Nevada Restaurant Services Inc, Bouchon, and Mariscos El Puerto and La Catrina allege sexual harassment towards employees by owners, supervisors and management, co-workers, and/or customers. The four lawsuits included allegations raised by workers throughout the hospitality industry, from housekeepers in hotels to waitstaff in both high-end and casual restaurants and bars. Allegations included the attempted rape of a young housekeeper, sexual assault, sexual solicitations, sexual comments, inappropriate touching, stalking, and other inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, the EEOC filed a separate suit against Mariscos El Puerto and La Catrina alleging harassment towards gay and lesbian employees which included physical assault and verbal harassment.

“Harassment remains a persistent problem in the workplace when employers fail to properly address reports of harassment. The allegations are particularly concerning when directed at the most powerless in the workforce,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Las Vegas in its jurisdiction. “The EEOC takes these allegations very seriously, as evident by the significant number of cases filed by the Commission alleging sexual harassment.”

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a hostile work environment based on sex, including sexual harassment, as well as retaliation against individuals who complain about sexual harassment or engage in other protected activity. The EEOC has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

“We know harassment occurs in the hospitality industry on a regular basis,” said Los Angeles District Director Christine Park-Gonzalez. “Young workers, low-wage earners, and those for whom English may not be their first language are often targeted. We are grateful these individuals were brave enough to come forward and report the harassment they endured.”

“What happens in Vegas, does not stay silent in Vegas. There are consequences for these actions and the EEOC will not sit by idly as employers allow their workers to be harassed by colleagues, supervisors, and even the customers,” said Michael Mendoza, director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office. “This should serve as a wake-up call for employers. The EEOC will hold you accountable for violating federal law.”

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