A restaurant owner has been absolved in a sexual harassment suit filed by a former waitress who accused him of violating her civil rights. Maxine Phanco alleged that Russell Riddell owner of the R&M Restaurant repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances toward her, including kissing, groping and fondling her several times over two years while she worked at his eatery.
During the trial which was held in a federal court Riddell admitted to kissing and touching the waitress on many occasions, but he insisted under oath that the contact was with the waitress’s full consent.
Phanco had filed the lawsuit seeking more than $6 million in damages, but jurors returned a verdict in Riddell’s favor claiming that Phanco was not a believable witness. The defendant’s attorney said he felt that the case should have never been tried in a federal court.
Sexual harassment cases are common these days and most of the time it is legitimate. The idea of taking a case all the way to federal court because of a lovers’ quarrel or seeking more than $6 million in damages when you’ve put up with harassment for 2 years before complaining about the harassment seems more like a case of sour grapes.
If you are truly a victim of workplace harassment do not hesitate to make a complaint, if the complaint isn’t handled within the company then you must take it through the proper chain of command until you reach the courts. Any form of repercussion that affects your employment that arises from a complaint will be dealt with in the courts as it is illegal to terminate an employee for reporting harassment.