A line cook at a Red Robin restaurant in Washington is accused of repeatedly sexually harassing female colleagues, according to a lawsuit filed by the federal government.
In the suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that a line cook at a Red Robin location in Everett, Washington —25 miles north of Seattle — sexually harassed multiple female employees on a continuous basis, according to an EEOC Sept. 29 news release.
Red Robin did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.
The harassment included, “offensive sexual comments, unwanted remarks about their bodies, leering, and touching them without their consent,” according to the release.
When the employees objected to the cook’s behavior, he called them “sexist slurs” and declined to provide them with their food orders, the release said.
Red Robins’ management failed to put a stop to the harassment, despite multiple complaints, resulting in one worker quitting, according to the release. When one employee complained, the general manager allegedly said the cook had just been released from jail and “that is just the type of person he is,” according to an EEOC trial attorney.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, argues the sexual misconduct violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace and requires employers to investigate complaints of sexual harassment and take steps to prevent such harassment,” according to the release.
“The law makes clear that every worker has a right to a workplace free from sexual harassment,” EEOC Seattle Field Office Director Elizabeth Cannon said in a statement. “For that reason, once an employee makes a complaint of sexual harassment, employers are required to investigate and take effective measures to stop and prevent future harassment.”
Red Robin known for its bottomless fries is a popular casual dining restaurant that operates over 500 locations across the U.S. and Canada, according to its website.