Gretna restaurant chain to pay $85K for sex harassment

GRETNA, Neb. (AP) — A small chain of restaurants in eastern Nebraska will pay $85,000 and issue an apology to a former teenage worker to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against it by a federal equal employment agency.

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday that the five-year consent decree takes El Vallarta’s Gretna restaurant to task for allowing a supervisor and workers to sexually harass the teenage girl from 2016 to 2017.

The EEOC’s lawsuit said the girl was subjected to groping from a male manager and repeated, inappropriate comments about her body from the manager and other male employees when she worked at the restaurant.

When the teen’s mother contacted the restaurant to complain, the manager showed up unannounced at the girl’s home several times and tried to confront her, the EEOC said.

In addition to the monetary damages and apology from the restaurant owner, the decree requires training for all El Vallarta’s employees to prevent future harassment and to ensure workers understand their right to be free from sexual harassment on the job. The restaurants also are required to provide periodic reporting to the EEOC regarding any future allegations of sexual harassment.

A phone message left Friday morning at El Vallarta’s restaurant in Gretna was not immediately returned.

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