Owner Fired Employee Who Rebuffed His Advances and Complained, Federal Agency Charges
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Rainbow Tree LLC, doing business as Persian Room Fine Dining in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., violated federal law when its owner repeatedly made sexual advances to an employee and then punished her for complaining and fired her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a manager and part owner of Persian Room sexually harassed Samantha Labrado by making repeated sexual advances during a catering trip for an event at the Tucson Persian Room. Labrado rejected the advances. Five days after her return to Phoenix, Labrado was disciplined for tardiness, despite having been given permission to come in late, and her weekly work shifts were reduced from five to one. When Labrado complained about the sexual harassment, the manager / owner fired her.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex as well as retaliation for opposing illegal workplace conduct. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v Rainbow Tree LLC d/b/a Persian Room Fine Dining, Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-05047-JAT, 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 for the discrimination victim as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discriminatory practices in the future.
"As the Report from the EEOC's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace describes, harassment is particularly common when there are significant power disparities in the workforce," said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "Too often, owners and 'high-value' employees believe that the laws governing the workplace do not apply to them. The EEOC will always fight to protect employees, regardless of the status of the employee, manager or owner harassing them."
Elizabeth Cadle, district director of EEOC's Phoenix District Office, added, "Sexual harassment and retaliation for opposing sexual harassment are still far too common. Research shows that the cost of harassment and retaliation is incredibly high, as businesses lose valuable employees and productive workplaces when they condone discrimination."
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 www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.