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PRESS RELEASE
8-22-11

Sac Griffith / Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant Sued for Sexual Harassment and Pregnancy Bias

Restaurant’s Owner Sexually Harassed Hostess and Then Fired Her Because of Her Pregnancy, EEOC Charges

INDIANAPOLIS – The owner of SAC Griffith, Inc., doing business as Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant of Griffith, Ind., sexually harassed a hostess and then terminated her due to her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The suit, EEOC v. SAC Griffith, Inc., d/b/a Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant, Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-295, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, argues that the company’s actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy. This is not the first time the EEOC has sued this company. In a previous lawsuit, filed in 2002, the agency alleged that the owner subjected a class of women to sexual harassment and forced them out of their jobs. That lawsuit settled in 2004 for $90,000.

The EEOC is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the company, as well as other relief, including a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in any further employment practice that discriminates on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Employees should not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Laurie A. Young, regional attorney of the Indianapolis District Office. “Furthermore, employees who become pregnant should not lose their jobs because of their condition. The EEOC will vigorously prosecute employers who engage in pregnancy discrimination or other forms of sex discrimination.”

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