The EEOC has filed a class-action suit in an Arizona federal court alleging that three male workers at a Chandler, Arizona Cheesecake Factory suffered months of same-sex sexual harassment. According to the Los Angeles Times groups of male employees would corner other male employees and pantomime sex acts on the unwilling men. These roving same-sex stalkers “allegedly grabbed and forced [the men] to endure simulated sex acts with their clothes on.”
Cheesecake managers allegedly were aware of these activities but chose to look the other way. In fact the higher ups “seemed to kind of find the whole thing amusing” and did not take any steps to stop the marauding male malefactors.
One victim described being surrounded by 5-10 co-workers who lifted his legs “into the air and grind[ed] up against him in the restaurant’s kitchen area.”
A spokesperson for the Cheesecake Factory stated that the company believes all staff members “should be treated with dignity and respect.” Hopefully their definition of dignity and respect rules out enduring simulated gang rape.
Same sex harassment may be considered a joke by some, but the EEOC reports that 16% of harassment complaints involve male victims. This number has been steadily increasing over the years. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., ruled over a decade ago that federal anti-harassment laws ban same-sex harassment as well as opposite gender harassment. That unanimous opinion, written by noted conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, protects employees from same-sex harassment regardless of the victim’s and/or the perpetrator(s) sexual orientation.