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Press Release 04-02-2019

EEOC Sues Cañon City Chili's Restaurant for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

DENVER - A Chili's  restaurant in Cañon City, Colorado, violated federal law by subjecting  female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the restaurant's  managing partner and assistant manager subjected female servers and hostesses  to sexual harassment, including pervasive sexual comments and innuendo. The  EEOC alleges that the restaurant failed to take preventative or corrective  action when employees complained about the harassment and that some women who  could not tolerate the harassment were forced to resign. The EEOC also alleges  that management took retaliatory action against some of the female employees  who complained about the harassment, including a reduction in scheduled hours.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII  of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation and employment  discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit  in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Brinker  Restaurant Corporation d/b/a Chili's Grill & Bar and Brinker International  Payroll Company, L.P., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00970) after first attempting  to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

"The EEOC saw a 12 percent rise in the  number of sexual harassment charges filed in fiscal year 2018," said Regional  Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "Preventing  sexual harassment remains a priority for the EEOC and the agency will continue  to enforce the law when employers allow sexual harassment in their workplaces."

The lawsuit asks the court to order Chili's  to provide all the affected women with appropriate relief, including back wages  for those forced to resign; compensatory and punitive damages; and a permanent  injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further discriminatory  practice based on sex. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute  and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent sexual  harassment in the workplace.

EEOC Denver Field Director Amy  Burkholder said, "Employers have an important responsibility to maintain a  workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Managers need to be  held accountable for their bad behavior and employers should take prompt  corrective action when they receive complaints."

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.