CAÑON CITY- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing the Chili’s restaurant in Cañon City claiming sexual harassment and retaliation on the part of male employees towards several female employees.
After receiving a complaint from Christina Mentzer, a former Chili’s employee, the EEOC investigated the claims from several other female employees dating back to 2015.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the restaurant’s managing partner and assistant manager subjected female employees to sexual harassment including unwelcomed verbal harassment, sexual gesturing, and inappropriate touching.
Employees told investigators they were subject to comments about male and female genitalia, sexual performance, sexual advances and commentary about the female employees’ boyfriends.
The EEOC also alleges the restaurant failed to take preventative or appropriate measures when the employees complained about the harassment. Some female employees could no longer tolerate the harassment and had no choice but to resign.
Chili’s management is accused of retaliating against some of the female employees who complained, including reducing their hours, according to the lawsuit.
The EEOC is asking the court to order Chili’s to provide all the affected women with appropriate relief including back wages for those forced to resign, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction to prohibit the company from engaging in any further discriminatory practice based on sex.
“Employers have an important responsibility to maintain a workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Managers need to be held accountable for their bad behavior and employers should take prompt corrective action when they receive complaints,” Amy Burkholder, EEOC Denver Field Director, said.
News 5 reached out to the restaurant for comment. The manager we spoke to declined to comment on any part of the lawsuit.