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Mariscos Altata Sued by EEOC For Sexual And Age-Based Harassment and Retaliation

Phoenix Restaurant Subjected Women to Physical and Verbal Abuse, Federal Agency Charges

PHOENIX - Phoenix restaurant Mariscos Altata violated federal law by subjecting female employees to a hostile work environment based on their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The EEOC also charged the company with subjecting one female employee to a hostile work environment based on her age and retaliating against female employees that opposed the harassment that they endured.

According to the EEOC's suit, the female employees of Mariscos Altata were subjected to unwanted touching, grabbing, fondling, sexual comments, requests for sex and other unlawful conduct since at least February 2011. The EEOC alleged that one female was subjected to harassment based on her age, including comments that she was a "worthless old lady" and coworkers taking bets on her age. The lawsuit further alleges that Mariscos Altata fired the women when they refused to comply with the sexual demands they endured.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and retaliation, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against employees over the age of 40. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Francisco's Fine Foods, LLC d/b/a Mariscos Altata, Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-00945-JZB, in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discriminatory practices in the future.

"Employees must be able to go to work in an environment where they are not constantly subjected to abusive behavior," said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "The agency takes this behavior extremely seriously, and is taking steps to make sure that employers know that restaurants need to be a safe place for women to work."

Elizabeth Cadle, the director of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, added, "Female employees need to be able to stand up for themselves without fear of termination. Unfortunately, over 45 percent of charges to the EEOC involve allegations of retaliation - the most common type of discrimination charge."

The EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.