A woman is suing a restaurant in suburban Schaumburg claiming she was sexually assaulted by cooks and fired from her job there after she made a complaint to management.
The cooks at the Village Tavern and Grill, 335 W. Wise Rd, allegedly grabbed the woman’s breasts, crotch and buttocks “on a daily basis” while she worked as a server between June 2015 and January 2019, according to the lawsuit filed Feb. 7 in the Circuity Court of Cook County.
The lawsuit claims the woman expressed her concerns about the harassment to managers almost weekly. One of them allegedly told her, “ … just walk away,” and “Why don’t you slap him back? You can handle them,” according to the lawsuit.
On Dec. 18, 2018, one of the cooks allegedly grabbed her head and pulled it toward his crotch while she stepped aside to the refrigerator and bent down to tie her shoe, the lawsuit states. She managed to escape and slap him before she left the kitchen.
After the alleged attack, a manager told her that she wasn’t the first to complain about that cook, and that “he was done,” the suit states. However, when the woman returned to work the day after the alleged incident, he was still there.
According to the lawsuit, when the woman asked her managers why the cook hadn’t been fired, they allegedly said the restaurant was going to be busy for the next few weeks because of the holidays.
Her managers also claimed they would move her to another shift and would fire the cook in a couple of weeks, the lawsuit claims. But he remained at work after the holidays and would allegedly grab his crotch and make kissing gestures toward her when she walked by him.
The lawsuit does not cite a specific instance of the cook or anyone else grabbing her crotch but says the harassment was “severe, persistent in nature” and humiliating.
According to the suit, the cook left the restaurant only after the woman filed a report to police in January 2019.
Afterward, she approached management about organizing sexual harassment training sessions for the staff, but the managers allegedly told her she needed “to let this go,” the lawsuit claims.
When the woman complained about the lack of urgency in getting the training done, management began to give her shifts away, the lawsuit states.
The woman was fired in June 2019 for “walking off a shift,” but the lawsuit claims she was told to leave the restaurant by one of the managers, and the real reason she was fired is because she exposed a hostile work environment
A spokesperson for the restaurant could not immediately be reached for comment.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and more than $50,000 in damages.