Overland Park Restaurant Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment Of Teen Worker

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Cactus Grill, Inc., violated federal law when it allowed a manager to sexually harass an 18-year-old server at its restaurant in Leawood, Kan., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today in federal court.

According to the EEOC’s suit, an assistant manager at the restaurant asked the server for sex, touched her, and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. The harassment was so intolerable that the server was forced to quit her job, amounting to an unlawful constructive discharge, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination based upon gender, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed this suit, Case No. ****, in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. In addition to Cactus Grill, Inc., the suit names other related corporations as defendants.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is always wrong, but harassment of teenage workers, who are often in their first ‘real’ job, is even more egregious,” said James Neely, director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Employers must provide safe, harassment-free workplaces for all of their employees, including teenagers.”

Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, added, “Training is key to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, and it is especially crucial for employers with teenage employees. All employees must be trained that sexual harassment is unlawful and will not be tolerated. But all employees, and especially teenagers, must also be trained to recognize sexual harassment and to know what to do if it happens to them.”

The EEOC St. Louis District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and southern Illinois, with Area Offices in Kansas City and Oklahoma City.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.