US seafood restaurant counters sexual harassment claims
Five female kitchen workers have brought a sexual harassment lawsuit against McCormick & Schmick’s, an upscale seafood restaurant chain with 53 locations across the United States.
McCormick & Schmick’s operator Landry’s, which owns numerous restaurant chains, said the complaints, brought by both current and former employees, were handled two years ago and the plaintiffs’ current statements are not consistent.
One offending employee was immediately terminated, among other disciplinary action, McCormick and Schmick’s said in a statement.
The plaintiff’s lawyers “have latched on to the current frenzy concerning sexual harassment and filed a lawsuit citing inflammatory allegations that conflicted with statements of their own clients and that at least one independent eyewitness identified during our investigation said was untrue,” the statement said, the Boston Herald reported. “We are confident that, after we were put on notice, we did all we could to restore the work place to a harassment-free environment and that we will prevail in the litigation.”
When harassment of any type is reported, “We take matters seriously and immediately investigate, resulting in swift, appropriate action,” McCormick & Schmick’s added.
Fair Work P.C. and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Marta Romero, Santiago Cruz, Gladys Fuentes, Milagro Alvarez, and Fabiana Santos.
Romero, a former dishwater at McCormick & Schmick’s Faneuil Hall location in Boston said that her male supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her.
“He then followed me into the walk-in, trapped me, and groped my breasts. I felt powerless, trapped,” she told the Boston Herald.
Santos also said a male dishwasher pushed her into a table with his groin. Even though she reported the incident to the executive chef, no action was taken.
“The disgusting things that happened to me made me feel dirty, and when I got home I felt dirty, I didn’t want my kids to touch me,” Fabiana Santos, a prep cook from 2002 to 2015, told the Boston Herald.
The complaint was filed after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that there was reasonable cause to believe that McCormick & Schmick’s discriminated against the women based on their sex, FSR Magazine reported.