24-year-old Vanessa Lopez had been working at Pigalle –a restaurant on Eighth Ave in Times Square, New York since 2013. But problems only began this past summer when management informed the employees that for World Cup they may dress casual in their jeans and favorite jerseys.
“The minute she saw me, she looked me up and down and said, “I don’t like the way they look on you. You’re too much” Lopez said, speaking of her manager Lucille Thomas. Lopez said she felt embarrassed like she did something wrong.
Later on, Thomas announced that the casual-clothing policy was canceled due to some people’s choices in dress down as being inappropriate. “She looked at me when she said it,” Lopez said.
Thomas’ implications were that Lopez was dressing in a slutty fashion even though she had done nothing wrong, according to the complaint she filed with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
“I was definitely singled out,” said Lopez. She also believes that her manager who is middle-age may have been jealous of her.
As time went on, Lopez became a sexual harassment victim. The kitchen staff began calling her slutty names and grabbing her.
After a while, Lopez was told her “bubbly personality attracts the wrong attention,’’ and she was warned to “tone it down,” advising her that if she were to bring a sexual-harassment suit, she would lose her job.
“The victim was blamed for all of this and then warned she would get fired if she brought a lawsuit,” said Joshua Friedman, Lopez’s attorney. “It doesn’t get much worse than that” he added.
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The EEOC makes it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on race, color, gender/sex, religion, national origin, age, disability or pregnancy. Sexual harassment is a type of gender discrimination and therefore is illegal. Call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.