Restaurant Owner Sexually Assaulted and Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE -R.V. Associates Limited, doing business as Windsor Inn, violated federal law when its restaurant manager subjected female employees to severe and pervasive sexual harassment and retaliated against an employee who complained about the abusive treatment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the suit, the restaurant owner raped a female employee, and, on another occasion, forced her to perform oral sex on him in his office, where a handgun was prominently displayed on his desk. The owner and management knew others, including a manager, an employee and a customer, also harassed the female employee, but did not take action to stop the harassment, EEOC said. The ongoing harassment was so intolerable she was forced to quit.
EEOC said the owner of Windsor Inn in Baltimore engaged in unwelcome sexual touching of other female employees, including trying to force a female employee's hand onto his penis and attempting to put his hands down a female employee's pants. The owner also made sexual requests and explicit sexual comments to female employees, such as requesting oral sex and requesting to touch female employees' breasts and vaginas. When one female employee rejected the owner's demand for a sexual encounter, the owner suspended her and later refused her requests to increase her work hours in retaliation for her rebuffing his advances and filing a charge of discrimination.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. R.V. Associates Limited, d/b/a Windsor Inn, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00197-RDB) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "No employer or business owner has the right to sexually assault employees or demand sexual favors. EEOC will take vigorous action to protect employees when business owners engage in such shocking and illegal conduct."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "All employees, female and male, have the right to earn a living without being subjected to blatant physical and verbal harassment. Preventing workplace harassment is an enforcement priority for the Commission."
EEOC Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.