A lawsuit has been filed against Swami’s, a restaurant chain with 10 locations in Southern California, and Honey’s Bistro in Encinitas, alleging that a manager regularly sexually harassed teenage female employees.
The lawsuit claims that since at least 2019, the businesses have engaged in a “pattern” of hiring girls as young as 16 based on their appearance and vulnerability, subjecting them to a highly sexualized work environment and daily sexual harassment by the restaurant manager. The manager allegedly inappropriately touched female employees, made sexual comments, and attempted to have sexual relationships with them.
According to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 17, the manager showed favoritism towards employees who tolerated his behavior by offering gifts such as bicycles, surfboards, alcohol, illegal drugs, and cash. He also scheduled them for the most profitable shifts.
On the other hand, he retaliated against those who rejected his advances by removing them from the work schedule, firing them, physically intimidating them, or publicly berating them in front of customers. The manager even threw objects, such as heavy receipt rolls and cardboard boxes, at a female employee during an angry outburst.
A spokesperson for Swami’s 101, the location where the manager worked, has denied the allegations and stated that they will vigorously defend against the lawsuit. The lawsuit also highlights a broader culture of harassment within the company, with reports of other incidents at various locations.
The affected employees in the Swami’s sexual harassment lawsuit are seeking monetary damages. The suit aims to ensure that the company takes appropriate action to prevent similar misconduct in the future. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission emphasizes the importance of timely action and proper investigation of harassment complaints in the workplace.
Employees who encounter discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace should reach out to Labor Law Advocates for assistance regarding California employment law concerns. Our team of experts can help thoroughly understand one’s rights, offer guidance, and provide support in addressing and resolving such issues.