The Holiday Inn on El Camino Real near San Antonio Road is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly firing a front desk clerk for complaining about being sexually harassed and threatened by her boss.
The EEOC says former Holiday Inn front desk clerk Beatriz Garcia was the victim of "unwelcome touching, sexual comments and threats in response to complaining about the harassment" from a supervisor. The EEOC said she was fired in retaliation for complaining about the harassment to Holiday Inn management and faced further retaliation for filing a complaint with the EEOC -- her former manager called her new employer "in an attempt to warn him about Garcia and obtain her new contact information."
"I came to this country to work hard and achieve the American Dream," Garcia said in a press release. "At the Holiday Inn Express I found a great job. But I also found sexual harassment and retaliation. Soon after being promoted, I realized that the promotion came at a price I did not want to pay. I could not continue to work where I was being treated as a sexual object. So instead I decided to take a stand against sexual harassment and retaliation, for anyone who like me has suffered from harassment at work."
The suit seeks an undisclosed amount in monetary damages for Garcia, as well as workplace training about anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination laws and the posting of notices about the law at the workplace.
"By law, employers must protect their workers and take responsibility for the actions of their supervisors," said EEOC regional attorney William Tamayo in a press release, which encourages employers to "send a clear message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in your workplace."
The EEOC reports that 33,613 cases of retaliation were filed in 2009 in the U.S., along with 12,696 cases of sexual harassment.