El Centro

El Centro restaurant ordered to pay in sexual harassment lawsuit

Employee says she was fired after she was harassed

Mexicali Chicken and Salads lawsuit

EL CENTRO, Calif. - A federal judge has ordered Mexicali Chicken & Salads, an El Centro, Calif.-based restaurant, to pay $27,692 to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a female employee who claims she was sexually harassed by her manager and then fired when she complained, the U.S. EEOC announced Friday.

EEOC charged that the restaurant manager sexually harassed a young shift supervisor, who rejected his advances and shortly thereafter complained of the harassing behavior to another manager. Within days of the employee’s complaint and rejection of the manager’s sexual advances, the female employee was terminated. The federal court found a substantial monetary amount was warranted, recognizing that "Mexicali Chicken's conduct, through its managers' actions and inaction, was wrongful and flagrantly violated federal law."

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Mexicali Chicken & Salads, Case No. 3:15-cv-02164-AJB-JMA) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“No employee should feel that they have to consent to unwanted sexual advances in order to maintain their employment,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes California’s Imperial County. “Employers have a duty under the law to not only investigate claims of harassment but to also provide a workplace free of reprisal. Mexicali failed to engage in these efforts and the decision by the court will send a clear message to all employers that harassment and retaliation will not be tolerated.”

“Young workers can be more vulnerable to harassment in the workplace, as they may be unaware of their rights and the protections afforded to them by federal law,” said Christopher Green, director for EEOC’s San Diego Local Office. “Employers should have appropriate anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures in place to protect their workers from unwelcome behavior and retaliation.

Information regarding the EEOC’s Youth @Work education and outreach efforts directed at young workers can be found at www.eeoc.gov/youth.

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.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has won a lawsuit filed against a local El Centro restaurant who will now have to pay thousands of dollars to settle.

A federal judge has ordered Mexicali Chicken and Salads to pay just over 27 thousand dollars to resolve a discrimination lawsuit. The announcement was made today but the incident happened back in 2012.

 “Back in 2012 a young female employee had been sexually harassed by her manager, and when she complained about that harassment and she robust to advances she was terminated within just a few days,” explained Nicole St. Germain, Outreach & Education Coordinator with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The young woman who was a shift manager at the time received a call from her supervisor Michael Salcedo.

During the call Salcedo asked his employee out on a date telling her he would make her fall in love with him. She rejected him, but Salcedo was persistent, calling a second time to apologize, admitting that he had been drinking.

Soon after being terminated without reason the female employee filed a complaint with the (EEOC).

 “We conducted an investigation into her allegations. We found a violation so we issued a letter of determination back in April of 2014,” said St. Germain.

An attempt to resolve the complaint through conciliation process failed and a complaint was soon filed against the restaurant.

 “The company had been served and they didn't respond to the court so the EEOC requested a motion for default judgement since Mexicali did not respond,” added St. Germain.

The restaurant is now ordered to pay a total of $27,692 to the female victim.

We reached out to Mexicali Chicken and Salads management but they declined to speak on camera.

A current employee did mention that sexual harassment in the workplace is now a frequent topic of conversation.

 

 “We really commend the young female who came forward and filed with us. If anybody does feel that they are a victim of discrimination or harassment in the workplace they can contact us at www.eeoc.gov,” explained St. Germain.


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