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Press Release 02-14-2019

Ojos Locos Sports Cantina to Pay $700,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Albuquerque Sports Bar Subjected Employees, Including Teenagers, to Sexual Misconduct And Punished Those Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Ojos Locos Sports Cantina in Albuquerque will pay $700,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit charging sex-based harassment and retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The owner/operators of the relevant businesses are Ojos Locos Sports Cantina, LLC; Ojos Locos Sports Cantina DOS, LLC; Ojos Locos Sports Cantina TRES, LLC; Ojos Locos Sports Cantina Cuatro, LLC and Reach Restaurant Group, acting as a single employer who operate several restaurants in New Mexico and Texas.

According to the EEOC, at least 12 women at the Albuquerque Ojos Cantina were forced to endure pervasive, egregious and unwelcome conduct, including requests that some show more cleavage in their uniforms; comments about their breasts and buttocks; comments by male employees about their private parts; text requests for sex; and unwelcome touching of their bodies. All of this created a sexu­ally hostile work environ­ment for the victims. In at least one case, a managerial official texted employee Shyanne Hyde a photo of his penis. He was fired only after Hyde filed her complaint with the EEOC.

In addition, the EEOC charged that women who complained about the sexual harassment, including Hyde, suffered adverse changes at work such as fewer work hours, unfavorable shifts and/or termination as retaliation. The EEOC specifically said that Hyde was fired because she opposed the illegal harassment. Finally, the EEOC alleged that other women chose to resign because of the sexually hostile work environment which Ojos Locos allowed to persist and failed to correct.

All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00758-RB-LF) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, 12 women the EEOC has already identified as having experienced sexual harassment and/or retaliation will be eligible to receive a portion of the $700,000 settlement. In addition to the monetary compensation that Hyde will receive under the decree, she will also receive a letter of apology from the company.

The consent decree resolving the case, which was approved by the court today, enjoins Ojos Cantinas and Reach Restaurant Group from engaging in future violations of Title VII, including sexual harassment and retaliation because of opposition to unlawful employment practices. The decree also requires all the Ojos restaurant locations to review and revise policies prohibiting sex dis­crimination (including harassment) and retaliation and provide training to all managers, line super­visors and workers each year of the decree. Additional training is required for human resources, managerial, and super­visory personnel. Ojos managers will be rated on their efforts to comply with EEO policies and laws prohibiting harassment and retaliation. Audits of company employees will be performed by an outside consultant on Ojos’ policies and training, with a report going to the company and the EEOC.

“The monitoring and auditing terms of our consent decrees are extremely important in sexual harassment cases where victims are often young, single mothers, or other vulnerable workers,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “When employers fail to protect these victims of sexual harassment, the EEOC will insist, as part of any resolution, that employers take actions strategic­ally targeted to end the sexual harassment and retaliation. We hope that this case acts as a teaching moment for other employers in New Mexico that employers have a duty to protect their employees.”

EEOC District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “We appreciate this employer’s effort to work with the EEOC to develop settlement terms that will provide improvements in policies and procedures. It is important for these vulnerable women who bravely stepped forward to share the abuse they experi­enced to know their actions will lead to safer workplaces for others. Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation remains at the top of our six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).”

The EEOC’s Youth@Work website (at presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination, including curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.

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.