Federal Agency Sues Las Vegas Restaurants for Sexual Harassment

Posted on: August 25, 2023, 12:06h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2023, 11:53h.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed four lawsuits this week alleging sexual harassment at Las Vegas restaurants.

Bouchon at The Venetian
Bouchon at the Venetian is one of four Las Vegas restaurants sued this week for sexual harassment by the federal government. (Image: The Venetian)

Lawsuits filed in US District Court against Bouchon, Nevada Restaurant Services Inc., Mariscos El Puerto, and La Catrina alleged sexual harassment toward employees by owners, supervisors and management, co-workers, and/or customers, according to a press release from the federal agency.

Bouchon operates Bouchon at the Venetian, the upscale French restaurant opened by Chef Thomas Keller in 2004, where the EEOC said both female and male employees were harassed “on a daily basis,” and “some employees who complained faced retaliation.”

Nevada Restaurant Services, the owner and operator of the Dotty’s gambling parlor chain and the Laughlin River Lodge hotel-casino, “tolerated sexual harassment” since at least 2018, the EEOC alleged.

“Even after complaints of harassment were made to human resources, Nevada Restaurant Services failed to address and correct the harassment, which forced some employees to quit as their only way of avoiding the harassment,” the EEOC alleged in its release.

Harassment Charges Filed against Mariscos El Puerto

In a separate case against the off-Strip Mariscos El Puerto restaurant and La Catrina Bar, the EEOC alleged verbal harassment and physical assault against gay and lesbian employees, according to the release.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a hostile work environment based on sex, including sexual harassment, as well as retaliation against individuals who complain about sexual harassment or engage in other protected activity.

“What happens in Vegas, does not stay silent in Vegas,” Michael Mendoza, director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas office, said in a statement. “There are consequences for these actions and the EEOC will not sit by idly as employers allow their workers to be harassed by colleagues, supervisors, and even the customers. This should serve as a wake-up call for employers. The EEOC will hold you accountable for violating federal law.”

In all the cases, the EEOC said it sued after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement.