In recent news, two male employees at a Hooters restaurant claim they were sexually harassed by a male boss while on the job and then retaliated against when they complained about their boss’s alleged misconduct. Both filed sexual harassment lawsuits against the Hooters restaurant chain. The first plaintiff, Paul “PJ” Cagnina, obtained an undisclosed settlement in May 2017. The second plaintiff, Scott Peterson, appeared to come to a settlement regarding the case in July 2019.
On July 16th, Hooters attorneys filed paperwork with the Los Angeles Superior Court stating that the part of the case filed by Scott Peterson was resolved. No terms of any settlement were divulged.
The original suit was filed in March of 2016 seeking unspecified damages and a court order requiring Hooters to stop allowing sexual harassment and retaliation on the job. In court papers, the company stated that they have a strict policy the forbids any form of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation and the attorneys for the defendant argued the plaintiffs did not suffer any damages.
Peterson, one of the plaintiffs in the case, claimed his boss touched him inappropriately, talked about him in a sexually demeaning way while they were in meetings with Hooters general managers, and sent photos to the plaintiff of a female co-worker claiming to have slept with her.
Cagnina, the other plaintiff in the case, claimed that his boss threw him down on the ground in the parking lot after a bikini contest at the Hooters in Costa Mesa and engaged in a simulated act of sex with the plaintiff in front of other people still on site. Cagnina also claimed that his supervisor repeatedly tried to get him to go skinny dipping with women who worked at the restaurant who were Cagnina’s subordinates on the job. Cagnina claims that when he was being honored as a new general manager, the boss publicly referred to unflattering and sexually demeaning nicknames like PGay and “cagina.”
Both plaintiffs claimed they experienced retaliation in the workplace after they complained about the boss’ alleged behavior with Peterson claiming he was ultimately fired as a result of complaining about the misconduct.
If you need to file a discrimination lawsuit or if you have been wrongfully terminated, the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP can help. Get in touch today so we can help you protect your rights.