SCOTTSDALE – The owners of Persian Room Fine Dining, Rainbow Tree LLC, has agreed to pay $65,000, issue an apology to the victim and bar sex discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
Nasser Nikkhahmanesh, an owner and manager of the Persian Room, repeatedly touched Ms. (Samantha) Labrado and made sexual comments to her and about her, including telling someone in her presence that he and Labrado were having sex. Within days of Labrado rebuffing multiple advances from Nikkhahmanesh, Persian Room retaliated against Labrado by disciplining her for tardiness despite her having received permission to arrive late and cutting Labrado’s weekly work shifts from five to one. After Labrado made a written complaint about sexual harassment and retaliation, Persian Room further retaliated against Labrado by terminating her employment.
According to the EEOC, Persian Room’s alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex as well as retaliation for engaging in protected activity. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process.
Under the four-year consent decree signed by Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles, Persian Room will pay $65,000 to Labrado. In addition to the monetary relief, Persian Room will issue Labrado an apology and “modify its policies to clearly and unambiguously bar sex discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. It will also train its line staff and management level officials annually on federal laws against discrimination. The consent decree also prohibits the owner involved from traveling alone with an employee.”
“We are pleased with the resolution of this case, and with Persian Room’s commitment to improve its policies and practices through this consent decree,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill in a press release. “We are deeply concerned, however, that sexual harassment and retaliation continue to infect so many workplaces. Employers must take affirmative steps to protect employees from sexual harassment and retaliation, be it from coworkers, managers or owners.”