Red Lobster Restaurant subjected female employees to egregious sexual harassment including grabbing and groping, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The EEOC alleged that the restaurant’s then culinary manager subjected Valerie Serman, Racheal Cox and a class of similarly situated female employees to longstanding sexual harassment including pressing his groin against them, and groping them. The EEOC further alleged in the lawsuit that the manager made sexually offensive comments, such as frequent remarks about the bodies of female employees and about his genitals.
According to the EEOC, Red Lobster failed to take prompt action to stop the sexual harassment even though the offensive conduct and comments were blatant and pervasive. Serman also complained to her general manager about the harassment, but he not only failed to act, but also had a history of making vulgar and sexually charged remarks about female employees himself, the lawsuit claimed.
Subjecting employees to a sexually hostile work environment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting the Red Lobster from engaging in sexual harassment, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Serman, Cox and the class of female employees, and other affirmative relief.