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Press Release 09-29-2022

EEOC Sues Mexico Restaurant for Sexual and Racial Harassment

Manager Condoned Hostile Environment for Employees, Federal Agency Charges

HONOLULU – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Mexico Restaurant, Inc., a local restaurant on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, for racial and sexual harassment, the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that since 2019, Mexico Restaurant allowed a bartender to sexually harass numerous female employees. The harassment included, but was not limited to, unwanted touching, excessive and inappropriate comments about the employees’ bodies and requests for dates. Complaints of this behavior were made to the general manager who ignored the complaints and refused to address the harassment. As a result of this ongoing harassment and the restaurant’s failure to address it, employees were left with no choice but to quit.

The EEOC further charged that since at least 2015, the general manager subjected an employee to racial harassment on a weekly basis by referring to her as a “white devil.” The employee objected to this behavior and even reported it to the owner of the restaurant. The EEOC contends that nothing was done to correct this behavior and the manager persisted with the harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a hostile environment based on race and sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Mexico Restaurant Inc., Case No. 1:22-cv-00430) in the U.S. District Court for Hawaii after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages for the claimants, including compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief against the company to redress such alleged unlawful conduct in the future. 

“Harassment continues to remain a persistent problem, particularly in the restaurant industry. Now, more than ever, employers should implement proactive measures to protect workers and ensure accountability,” said Anna Park regional attorney for the Los Angeles District Office, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction.

Raymond Griffin, Jr., director for the Honolulu local office added, “Supervisors and managers have an obligation to address and rectify instances of harassment when they become aware of it. Continued harassment due to employer inaction creates a workplace where employees feel they have no choice but to quit to escape the unwanted behavior.”

One of the six national priorities of the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation.     

For more information about race and color discrimination, visit the EEOC’s website at and for information on sex discrimination:

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.