St. Louis Restaurant Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Villa Galleria Subjected Employee to Abuse by Assistant Supervisor, Agency Charges

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis restaurant will pay $23,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Villa Galleria allowed employee Edwonder Hobson to be subjected to sexual harassment by Brian Jones, an assistant supervisor. The alleged harassment included Jones rubbing his body against Hobson’s and attempting to put his hands up her shirt and kiss her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against Villa Enterprises Management, Ltd, Inc., d/b/a Villa Galleria, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Case No.4:11-cv-01528) last Sept. 1 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In the consent decree settling the suit, besides agreeing to pay Hobson $23,000, Villa Galleria also agreed to provide training against sexual harassment to all management and non-management employees at its St. Louis Galleria location. Villa Galleria also agreed to report internal complaints of sex harassment to the EEOC for the decree’s 18-month term.

“Enforcing laws prohibiting sex harassment in the workplace is at the forefront of the EEOC’s mission to eradicate unlawful employment discrimination,” said Barbara A. Seely, Regional Attorney for the EEOC's St. Louis District Office.