Two Maryland-based companies have agreed to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation claim related to Basta Pasta restaurants they run. The companies have Basta Pasta locations in Lutherville-Timonium and Fallston.
Sexual harassment lawsuits often include claims of subtle, though serious, acts of harassment, such as disparaging comments about men or women or unwanted advances. In the case involving Basta Pasta, however, the alleged sexual harassment was rampant and potentially even criminal.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the owner of Basta Pasta of rubbing his genitalia against his female employees, including at least one teenager, in addition to other forms of unwanted touching. The EEOC also said the owner routinely made sexual remarks and innuendos. And, this isn't the worst of it.
One employee claimed that, in an attempt to sexually assault her, the owner gave her alcohol causing her to pass out. She woke up vomiting. Another female employee says that she was invited to the owner's home under the guise of discussing a management opportunity, and she ended up being drugged and sexually assaulted.
Both women ultimately quit their jobs.
Basta Pasta was also accused of illegally retaliating against a manager who complained to superiors about the owner's actions by firing her.
The EEOC pursued its lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws sexual harassment and retaliation in employment, and the companies have now agreed to provide $200,000 in relief to the victims.
While the sexual harassment in this case was particularly outrageous, no one should have to endure a sexually hostile work environment of any nature. If you think you may be experiencing sexual harassment on the job, it is important to talk to an employment law attorney about your rights.
Source: The National Law Review, "Basta Pasta to Pay $200,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit," U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, June 2, 2014