California man sues Chili’s restaurant, co-workers for sex assault

Posted in Sexual Harassment on September 4, 2013

One common misconception about sexual harassment is that only women can be victimized. This is simply untrue. Men often encounter workplace sexual harassment as well; sometimes perpetrated by women and sometimes by other men.

As just one recent example, a man in nearby Roseville, California, is suing his former employer Chili’s Bar and Grill, as well as four supervisors and three former co-workers for the sexual harassment and sexual assault he suffered at work. In addition to filing criminal charges against the co-workers who sexually assaulted him, he is suing supervisors and the restaurant for failing to respond to repeated complaints of escalating harassment.

The Guatemalan man was employed as a short-order cook for Chili’s. In his complaint, he alleges that other employees and supervisors frequently called him racial slurs such as “border-jumping cockroach,” and called him gay despite his objections that he is straight.

On several occasions, male co-workers allegedly assaulted him sexually at work. When he reported the incidents to his superiors, he says, they responded with comments  such as “You are gay; you like it.” The reports were allegedly laughed off and no disciplinary action was taken.

The allegations detailed in this lawsuit both reprehensible and, to many, unfathomable. No one should have to work in an environment where their rights and physical boundaries are violated, and the violations detailed in this complaint are more severe than most.

Hopefully, this case will serve as a reminder to all employers in California that when they fail to respond to complaints of sexual harassment, they can and will be held accountable in court.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Cook Says Chili’s Tolerated Sexual Attack,” Barbara Wallace, Sept. 3, 2013