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PRESS RELEASE
9-29-15

EEOC Sues Mexicali Chicken & Salads for Sexual Harassment

Restaurant Manager Sexually Harassed Young, Female Employee and Terminated Her When She Complained, Says Federal Agency

SAN DIEGO - Mexicali Chicken & Salads, an El Centro, Calif. restaurant, violated federal law when a male manager terminated a female employee for rejecting his unwanted sexual advances and complaining about the harassment to another manager, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Mexicali Chicken & Salads, Case No. 3:15-cv-02164-AJB-JMA) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further sexual harassment and discrimination at the restaurant.

"Young, female workers should not have to fear that their continued employment is based on consenting to unwanted sexual advances by their managers," said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes California's Imperial County. "EEOC continues to be concerned with cases involving individuals who are new to the workforce who may be especially vulnerable and unaware of their rights."

"Workers should not have to choose between keeping their jobs or enduring sexual harassment," said Christopher Green, director for EEOC's San Diego Local Office, "Employers should implement appropriate anti-harassment policies that include proper prevention and remedial measures. Where there are gaps, EEOC is here to ensure worker protections with respect to harassment and retaliation."

Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work web page, www.eeoc.gov/youth, as part of EEOC's national education and outreach effort to promote equal employment opportunity for America's next generation of workers.

EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.