The New Pine Ridge restaurant, based in Merrill, Wisconsin, will pay $41,000 to settle a hostile work environment and sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of female employees who were subjected to sexual harassment by Shahi N. Selmani, a cook at New Pine Ridge.
According to the EEOC, Selmani created a sexually hostile work environment for Sherry L. Brown and other female waitresses. Selmani allegedly repeatedly made crude remarks to waitresses and grabbed their breasts.
When some of the waitresses complained to New Pine Ridge owner Qemal Alimi about the hostile work environment, the EEOC claims that Alimi did not stop the sexual harassment and instead fired some of the waitresses in retaliation for their complaints.
Selmani did not stop working for the restaurant until months after criminal charges were filed against him. Eventually he pled no contest on Dec. 9, 2010 to having committed Class A misdemeanor battery against three waitresses.
John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of the EEOC's Chicago District Office, said, "The Supreme Court has held that when an employer learns of sexual harassment, it must take immediate and effective action to stop it. Employers who don't protect their workers should know that the federal government will enforce our national policy against sexual abuse in the workplace."