A person who was under 18 at the time of an alleged workplace assault has sued her former employer, a relatively new restaurant and entertainment spot in Southern California.
The woman makes several allegations against the restaurant on account of a number of questionable employment practices. Perhaps the most disturbing of these allegations is that the management failed to adequately protect her and others from sexual harassment.
The alleged victim complained that a patron was making inappropriate comments to several servers, including her, while he was dining with a group.
According to the complaint, he made a sexual proposition to the teen and then grabbed her and sexually assaulted her. Management eventually removed the patron but told the teen she could return to the floor to serve customers.
While management did not contact law enforcement, the plaintiff’s father did. Authorities are continuing to investigate, and it seems that the patron declined to make a statement when questioned.
The complaint also suggested that this was not an isolated problem at the restaurant involving one unruly customer.
The restaurant allegedly preferred high school teens in its hiring and expected them to dress attractively when serving customers who tended to drink to excess.
The restaurant was unwilling to put a stop to customers’ inappropriate behavior by removing disruptive customers, saying doing so would hurt the restaurant’s business.
The restaurant also was unwilling to escort the teens to their vehicles when customers would be lingering in the parking lot after the teens’ shifts ended.
Hostile work environments do not have to involve fellow employees
It is easy to think that sexual harassment is a problem among fellow employees or between managers and subordinates.
In fact, though, under both federal and California law, Pasadena workers have every right to expect their employers will protect them from harassment by customers, suppliers, contractors and other third parties in the workplace.
When an employer fails in this obligation, a victim may have the right to compensation and other legal relief.