Lexington’s Silver Diner faces an EEOC lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against a former employee.
According to the complaint, a male co-owner and supervisor at the restaurant allegedly harassed an employee named Laura. She claimed he frequently told her she was sexy and rubbed up against her at work. He also allegedly told her she would advance more quickly if she got rid of her boyfriend. Laura claimed that on one occasion, the man forcibly grabbed her arm in an attempt to intimidate her into dumping her boyfriend.
Apparently unmoved by her boss’s advances, Laura complained to the head waitress and other restaurant owners. Soon, the restaurant cut her hours. When she complained again, Silver Diner fired her. She filed a complaint with the EEOC seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief. EEOC mediation attempts failed. Now, barring a settlement, the case will go to trial.
Note: Small businesses with a tight-knit ownership group often have difficulty disciplining one of their own. Circling the wagons like that can cost big, in low employee morale, unnecessary time and expense for litigation and friction between owners. It costs far less to put everyone on notice that they must behave professionally.