Albuquerque restaurant employees file sexual harassment lawsuit

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A restaurant chain here in Albuquerque is being sued.

A group of women claim while working at Ojos Locos, their male supervisors made unwanted advances towards them.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, female employees at Ojos Locos Sports Cantina in Albuquerque claim they had to deal with constant sexual harassment for years — not from their patrons but from their supervisors. 

“If you’re in a workplace and you’re doing your job and you’re subjected to unwanted sexual conduct, meaning you’ve done nothing to invite it or solicit it, you are protected by the law from that harassment,” said attorney Loretta Medina. 

In the lawsuit, the women claim they received unwelcome requests for sex, a photograph of a supervisor’s penis, and were required to submit pictures of their bare midsections and cleavage as a condition of their employment. 

The restaurant is known for its scantily clad servers, but Medina said that’s no excuse.

“It shouldn’t matter what they were wearing to work especially when it’s a uniform provided by the employer. They were still subjected to unwanted sexual conduct,” Medina said. 

It didn’t stop there. According to Medina, when the women complained they were retaliated against. One of them was even fired while others resigned. 

“It takes a lot of courage for people to bring complaints forward and so all our statutes prevent retaliation, so it’s a whole separate claim that can be brought,” Medina said. 

Rick Van Warner, a spokesman for Ojos Locos, released this statement saying:

“Ojos Locos is committed to creating an environment where all employees and guests are treated fairly and with great respect. Ojos Locos maintains firm anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies that are strictly enforced.  We do not tolerate sexual harassment and have an open door policy and anonymous hotline any employee can use to report any concern without fear of retribution. We are proud of our track record and will vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations.”
 

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