U.S. Capital

National Chipotle Chain Faces Harassment Lawsuit, Says Attorney Timothy Coffey

May 12, 2016

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 12, 2016 – Chipotle has faced a number of lawsuits relating to food borne illnesses as a result of exposure to Norovirus. This latest suit is for wrongful termination, discrimination, assault, sexual harassment and retaliation.

Plaintiff Ariana Castaneda filed her lawsuit seeking medical expenses, lost wages and benefits after she was allegedly sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated from her job as lead kitchen worker. Her suit named four Chipotle managers as the instigators of the harassment. Castaneda worked for Chipotle from December 2013 until February 2016 when she was fired.

Castaneda’s first work shirt did not fit, and when she asked for a larger shirt, one of her managers allegedly said, “Is it because your tits are too big?” When a second shirt was given to the plaintiff, it still did not fit properly and this time the manager is alleged to have stated, “It doesn’t fit because your boobs are too big, huh?”

Court documents in this lawsuit paint a picture of a sexually charged workplace where the managers constantly harassed female staff they found to be attractive by using security cameras to spy on them. Issuing black uniform shirts, usually several sizes too small was allegedly done on purpose to emphasize their body.

Further allegations in the statement of claim refer to a manager forcing himself on her to get hugs, putting his hands on cold surfaces and sliding them up under her shirt, touching her back, stomach and waist, and continually making disparaging sexual remarks relating to women that worked at the restaurant and customers.

“Sexual harassment can be defined in a number of ways,” indicated Chicago sexual harassment attorney, Timothy Coffey, not involved in this case.

Harassment may be comprised of unwelcome, inappropriate actions that meet the definition of sexual harassment, and are conducive to creating hostile, sexually charged workplaces.

Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment:

· Making/posting sexually offensive cartoons, pictures in the workplace
· Touches of a sexual nature
· Sexually charged verbal abuse
· Sexually charged teasing, innuendo, pranks or jokes
· Standing too close to/rubbing up against an individual
· Giving sexually suggestive gifts or objects
· Continually making sexually suggestive gestures

“It is important to note that the harasser may be a man or woman or an individual of the same sex [as the victim],” said Coffey.

The law does not ban offhand comments, isolated incidents or simple teasing, actions that are considered not too serious. It becomes harassment when such actions/incidents are the norm and so severe and frequent that they generate an offensive workplace environment or if a victim is terminated or demoted as a result of such harassment being reported.

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