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Feds sue Scottsdale restaurant over alleged harassment of gay employee

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PHOENIX — Two employees were allegedly harassed by management and staff at a Scottsdale restaurant for being gay, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.

The suit against 5th & Wine — located near Goldwater Boulevard and Indian School Road — was brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

According to a press release on the agency’s website, the two employees — one of whom is gay, one of whom is straight — said they were subjected to name calling, inappropriate comments, innuendos and touching. The employees complained to management, who allegedly did nothing to stop the harassment and even took part in some of it.

“Federal law protects against all forms of discrimination based on sex,” EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill said in the release. “Employers cannot allow harassment based on sexual orientation, whether actual or perceived.”

The suit also claims that one of the employees was fired after saying he intended to take legal action.

“We must make sure that employees are not punished for standing up to unlawful misconduct in the workplace,” Elizabeth Cadle, district director of EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said in the release.

The lawsuit seeks back pay and both compensatory and punitive damages. A dollar figure was not released.

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