Bartender who was told to dress 'sexy' and 'date-ready' for customers wins payout
The Time's Up and Me Too movements have spread across the globe over the last year or so, giving many the solidarity and support needed to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. While many of the most notable examples of this involve abusers in Hollywood or celebrities coming forward with their own stories, the effect has reached further.
One bartender was allegedly asked by her employer to dress "sexy" and "date-ready," while the accused reportedly told customers that she was available for them to date. After these conditions and an unfair dismissal, she has now been awarded $80,000 from a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Chris Christakos, the owner of Christini's Ristorante Italiano in Orlando, Florida, is accused of encouraging a work environment in which “unwelcome, sexually charged comments and conduct was permissible and commonplace”.
Federal agency the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit, which alleges that, in addition to being told to dress "sexy," the staff were also told to allow inappropriate comments and encourage customers to think they are available to date. After she complained to management, the bartender was fired.
“Federal law is abundantly clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated," Michael Farrell, director of the EEOC’s Miami District, said. "Employers who ignore anti-discrimination laws should be on notice that they do so at their own peril.”
As a result of the $80,000 sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, the restaurant will reportedly bring in measures to prevent harassment such as this happening in the future. Christini's will hire an independent third-party to run a hotline for employees to report any incidents of harassment and discrimination, submit an anonymous workplace survey to the EEOC, and are required to post a notice referencing the lawsuit and advising employees of their rights.
Management have promised to develop a comprehensive anti-harassment policy in the restaurant, and will provide the bartender with a positive job reference. Christakos, also known by Chris Christini, will have to go through anti-harassment training alongside the other members of staff.
Late last year, the EEOC revealed the number of sexual harassment complaints made by employees had risen. In fact, those filed with the federal agency over 2018 had risen for the first time in nearly a decade. According to the agency, they had filed 31 lawsuits including sexual harassment claims against employers over the past year, a 50 per cent increase from those filed in 2017.
Big names may grab headlines, but intention of these movements is to provide others with the support and confidence to go through with allegations. Fortunately, lawsuits such as this one also benefit those currently working at the institution as well as those who will work there in the future. The anti-harassment policy introduced and the better lines of communication for the staff with regards to these issues can help prevent incidents such as these from occurring in the future.