A few summers ago, three teenage girls worked as bussers and hostesses at a yacht and golf club restaurant in Northern California. Shortly after they began working at the restaurant the girls began to experience problems with the executive chef and one of the cooks. The girls claimed that their two male co-workers made inappropriate sexual jokes, asked them for sex and lap dances, and grabbed their breasts and buttocks. The girls also stated that one of the males would place raw meat in front of his pelvis and say, "Eat this!"
The girls were upset about their co-workers' behavior, but did not know what their rights were or how to stop the harassment. One of the girls talked to her father about what was happening to her at work. The girls also said that they complained to some older waitresses, but their concerns were dismissed by the older women, who told them that they should expect things like this to happen at restaurants. According to the girls, even their managers were unable to make the harassment stop.
Finally, the girls decided to file formal job discrimination complaints with the EEOC. After investigating the girls' complaints, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against their employer. The lawsuit was settled in June 2004 and resulted in:
- A $75,000 payment to the three young women;
- Termination of the two alleged harassers;
- Training of the entire restaurant staff and club board members on sexual harassment; and
- Posting of the settlement at the restaurant.
One of the girls had this to say about filing her job discrimination complaint with the EEOC: "Some people might be afraid if they report sexual harassment, that they will be asked what they did to deserve it - 'blaming the victim.' But I'm glad we filed our complaint with the EEOC, and I hope this will encourage other women to step forward if they face a similar situation."
Did you know that...
- It is illegal for co-workers to sexually harass you at work?
- You can talk to your manager, or your parents, teachers or another trusted person if you feel you are being treated unfairly or harassed at work?
- The EEOC can help you if you experience a similar problem at work?