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PRESS RELEASE
5-4-09

PARAMOOR SETTLES EEOC SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUIT

Federal Agency Obtains $60,000 for Latina Cooks at Paragary’s Gold River Restaurant

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento restaurant group Paramoor, Inc., will pay $60,000 and provide remedial relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Paramoor allowed the sexual harassment of two line cooks at the former Paragary’s Gold River Bar & Oven (which has since been sold, operating under new ownership and a new name).

According to the EEOC’s suit, the kitchen manager and a co-worker sexually harassed Leticia Fernandez and Juana Jimenez. The harassment included lewd comments and gestures, questions about their personal sex lives, propositions, and slapping on their buttocks. When the women asked for the harassment to stop, Paramoor failed to adequately investigate or remedy the illegal harassment, the agency said.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit (EEOC v. Paragary’s Restaurant Group, et al., EDCA 2:05-cv-01983 MCE-DAD) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“The harassment had a deep impact on me -- I didn’t feel safe at work,” said Fernandez. “I hope the changes that the company has agreed to will help prevent this kind of situation in the future.”

Jimenez added, “We are glad that the EEOC pursued our case. They stood up for our right to work free from sexual harassment.”

Under the consent decree settling the suit, Paramoor denied culpability but agreed to pay $60,000 to the two women. The restaurant group, which owns 12 restaurants and bars in and around Sacramento, will also provide sexual harassment training for its supervisors and human resources manager, and will revise its policies and procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints.

EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “We commend the bravery of the women in this case to come forward. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal – no one should be required to work in a hostile environment.”

EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, “My advice to employers is to take every report of harassment seriously. Don’t dismiss such behavior as ‘the cost of doing business’ and don’t ignore problems in hopes that they will go away. The law requires you to quickly and effectively respond to such complaints.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.