Press Release 04-09-2020

EEOC Sues Cincinnati-Area Asian Restaurant Group for Sexual Harassment and Constructive Discharge

Owner Subjected Female Employee to Egregious Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Forcing Her to Quit, Federal Agency Says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The owner of three Cincinnati-area restaurants violated federal law by subjecting a female waitress to egregious sexual harassment and constructive discharge, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The defendant companies are 3501 Seoul, LLC, SushiNati, LLC and The Korea House, LLC.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, the owner and chef of these three restaurants subjected the waitress to unwelcome and offensive sexual harassment, including an offer of money in exchange for sex and sexual assault. The sexual harassment was so intolerable that the employee felt compelled to quit her job, the EEOC said in the suit. 

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. 3501 Seoul, LLC, SushiNati, LLC, The Korea House, LLC, Civil Action No.1:20-cv-00277-MWM) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its concili­ation process. In its lawsuit, the EEOC seeks permanent injunctive relief, as well as compensa­tory and punitive damages for the female victim.

"No employee should have to endure being subjected to sexual propositions, but the harassment is even more intolerable when it includes sexual assault by a company owner," said EEOC Indianapolis District Director Michelle Eisele.

EEOC Regional Attorney Ken Bird added, "Restaurants must protect their employees from harassment. The EEOC will take vigorous action to vindicate the rights of employees facing such extreme sexual harassment."

The case is being litigated by the Louisville Area Office, which is part of the EEOC's Indianapolis District, with jurisdiction over Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and parts of Ohio.

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.