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Cashier at California restaurant files sexual harassment lawsuit

A former employee at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant located in California filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain in March 2011 after she believed that she was fired for speaking up about the harassment. Recently, the restaurant filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that it fired the worker for stealing tips. The request to dismiss the lawsuit has been denied and her case will proceed in court.

The worker maintains that the general manager at the Woodland Hills restaurant made comments about her appearance, her scent and her body. She claims that the advances escalated and the general manager touched her inappropriately and sent suggestive text messages to her. The lawsuit states that the woman made it clear that the comments and actions were unwanted.

A kitchen manager also harassed the employee, according to the lawsuit. She finally requested to be transferred to another restaurant location, but her request was denied.

The worker maintains that she was fired in December 2010 because of her rejections to comments and advances from the general manager and kitchen manager. But, court documents filed by the company's attorneys stated that the plaintiff never filed an initial complaint with management about the sexual harassment.

The Cheesecake Factory also argues that the woman was lawfully terminated because she had been caught stealing at the restaurant. According to the defendants, an internal video showed the worker stealing tips from the jar of another cashier.

Although the video may have given the impression that the woman stole tips from her co-worker, the co-worker never accused her of stealing.

The former employee's trial is scheduled to begin next month.

Source: Contra Costa Times, "Woodland Hills restaurant worker can take sexual harassment suit to trial," Feb. 17, 2012