SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A male employee at a San Jose Chipotle claims he was harassed and groped by his female manager and subjected to a sex “score board” she posted in her office.
Austin Melton says he endured six months of harassment, and after he complained, nothing was done.
He has filed a lawsuit in which he claims the company retaliated against him after he complained.
The 8-page federal civil rights lawsuit documents a long list of allegations against an unnamed Chipotle General Manager who worked at the North Capitol restaurant in San Jose.
She allegedly “…slapped, groped and grabbed Mr. (Austin) Melton’s buttocks and groin area,” “…made sexually charged comments…such as ‘I’ll pay for sex,'” and “…subjected all staff to a sex ‘score board.'”
Steven Cohn is a long-time employer attorney. He isn’t Melton’s attorney, but he says in a case like this, you need people to come forward.
He adds that the fact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is filing the lawsuit on behalf of Melton says a lot about the claims.
“This is a federally funded agency. It would suggest that there is a strong claim here,” says Cohn.
According to Melton, when he finally complained about the harassment his co-workers and managers retaliated against him, including one incident when they, “…locked Mr. Melton in a walk-in freezer…” and he “…discovered that a steel rod had been lodged in a hole in the door handle…” before he escaped through an emergency exit.
Melton eventually quit his job.
Cohn believes Chipotle will settle with .
“Most cases settle out. There’s a strong incentive to certainly for the claimant to avoid the stress and you know pitfalls of trial,” says Cohn. “For the company it’s a great distraction.”
“So hopefully truth will be born out of this as well … one would hope,” says Cohn.
A Chipotle spokesperson told KPIX 5, they do not tolerate sexual harassment but do not comment on pending lawsuits.