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Press Release 08-24-2022

EEOC Sues Il Fornaio (America) LLC for Sex Harassment and Retaliation

Upscale Italian Restaurant Allowed Sexual Harassment of Female Employees, Federal Agency Charges

LOS ANGELES – Il Fornaio (America), LLC, a full-service, upscale Italian restaurant company that owns and operates 20 locations in California, Colorado, and Nevada, violated federal law by allowing a class of female employees to be subjected to sex-based harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Il Fornaio allowed a class of female employees to be subjected to sex-based harassment by male supervisors, managers, and co-workers. The harassment included repeated, frequent and offensive sex-based remarks, and unwelcome physical touching. Il Fornaio also failed to take preventative and corrective measures, failed to properly investigate and respond to complaints, and discouraged additional complaints from being filed. Employees were forced to continue working with the supervisors who harassed them, even after they complained. Additionally, several employees were also subjected to retaliation when they complained about the offensive conduct.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrim­ination on the basis of sex and retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Case No.: 2:22-cv-05992) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for a class of employees, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct discrimination.

“Harassment in the restaurant industry remains a persistent problem which requires employer vigilance to ensure proper mechanisms are working to address harassment before it permeates the workplace,” said Anna Park, regional attorney with the Los Angeles district of the EEOC.

Acting Los Angeles District Director Christine Park-Gonzalez said, “Complaints of harassment must be addressed in a timely, fair, and effective manner. Allowing such conduct to continue creates a culture that adversely affects all employees.”      

Preventing systemic workplace harassment through strong enforcement is also one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

For more information on harassment, please visit For more information on sexual harassment in particular, please visit For more information on retaliation, please visit workers can find information about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace by visiting  

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.