When we hear about an incidence of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, we almost automatically think of someone being assaulted by a co-worker or a boss, but an ex-hostess who used to work for Boca Raton’s Max’s Grill says she was assaulted by a “top customer.” Reportedly, she has filed a lawsuit against the customer as well as the restaurant where she was employed.
According to the victim, the alleged sexual assault occurred at the customer’s table in the presence of one of the restaurant’s managers. The ex-hostess claims the customer groped her, grabbing and squeezing her breasts, while the manager simply walked away from the table. The victim also claims the customer told her, “This is what happens when you sit next to me. I get a touch; I get a feel.”
The news report says the former hostess told the restaurant manager she was unable to finish her shift. The victim also says she went to a hospital later that same day because she was having a panic attack. Both the former hostess and her attorney claim she was subjected to retaliation at work the next day and was eventually fired from her position.
Reportedly, the victim suffered from sexual assault as a young girl, and her attorney said the incident at work was a trigger for her. The ex-hostess added that events like this one are a pattern at the restaurant, which has allowed the same “top customer” to get away with his actions for some time.
It doesn’t matter who is making unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment and assault at work is never okay and creates a hostile work environment for vulnerable employees. By ignoring what happened to the victim in this case, the restaurant is sending the message that it does not value its workforce and will side with customers who appear to be in the wrong. The young woman did the right thing by reporting the incident and seeking representation from an attorney.
Source: NBC 6 South Florida, “Ex-Hostess Sues Max’s Grille Alleging Sexual Harassment” No author given, May. 21, 2014