EEOC Obtains Judgment Ordering Ceviche House To Pay $ 130,691 For Sexual Harassment | United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
San Juan restaurant subjected employee to sexual harassment, retaliated against her and forced her to quit, federal agency indicted
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – A federal court has ordered a San Juan restaurant to pay $ 130,691 in a sexual harassment and reprisal lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, announced today the federal agency. The EEOC had accused Limeños Corporation, doing business as Ceviche House, a restaurant in the Isla Verde neighborhood of San Juan, of violating federal law when an owner and general manager subjected a waitress to harassment sexual abuse, retaliated against her when she complained, and made her working conditions so intolerable that she was forced to resign.
The EEOC lawsuit accused Ceviche House co-owner Marcelo López Mandujano of creating a sexually charged workplace by making humiliating comments about maids’ bodies, calling employees whores, and frequently discussing her own sexual experiences with maids. When the employee complained, Mandujano retaliated against her by escalating the harassment and threatening her job and safety. As a result of this conduct, the waitress was forced to resign.
Sexual harassment, retaliation for complaining, and forcing an employee to resign due to a hostile work environment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964. Sexual harassment is one form of sex discrimination prohibited by law.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico (EEOC v Limeños Corporation d / b / a Ceviche House, Case # 20-1143) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement by the through its conciliation process.
On EEOC’s motion for default judgment, the court ruling, in addition to the monetary relief, requires Ceviche House to provide five years of training to its owners, officers, managers and administrative assistants and to implement a new policy employees against sexual harassment and retaliation. Ceviche House will also be required to provide annual written reports to the EEOC certifying compliance with the court ruling and a report on any gender discrimination occurring in the workplace over the next five years.
“The court’s judgment against Ceviche House is consistent with the EEOC’s mission to prosecute employers who create a sexually hostile work environment and actively seek to prevent future harm to employees,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC district office in Miami, which includes Puerto Rico in its jurisdiction. “The EEOC will continue to fight to prevent sexual harassment, especially those working in the hospitality industry, where so many workers are vulnerable to this type of abuse.”
William Sanchez, director of the local EEOC office in San Juan, said: “The court judgment against Ceviche House does justice to this aggrieved employee and, we hope, will serve as a lesson to other employers on the importance of maintaining a workplace free from sexual harassment. “
The EEOC’s Miami District office includes offices in Miami, Tampa, and San Juan, and has jurisdiction over most of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Miami District of the EEOC employs several bilingual investigators who speak English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, French and Portuguese.
The EEOC advances opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.