One Year Ago Today (May 13, 2021)…A former cook at the Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. restaurant in Lakewood is suing the restaurant chain, alleging she was fired earlier this year for complaining about repeated sexual harassment by her supervisor.
Christine Amber Hurtado-Perez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include sexual assault, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring, supervision and retention.
A BWW representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which was filed Wednesday.
Hurtado-Perez, who is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, says she was hired as a cook at the Lakewood restaurant last July 5 and her boss was Michael Menendez, who is named as a co-defendant.
The suit alleges Menendez “would unlawfully flirt and harass (Hurtado-Perez) by making unwanted and unsolicited sexual comments” and that she made several requests and verbal pleas to him to stop his “inappropriate behavior” to no avail.
In December, he sent Hurtado-Perez several unsolicited messages asking if he could take her out to dinner or cook for her, and in February, he told the plaintiff, “You look beautiful when you doll yourself up a little,” the suit alleges.
“Extremely embarrassed and mortified of her supervisor’s antics, (Hurtado-Perez) was unsure how to respond to Menendez given that she was terrified of losing her job,” the suit says.
Hurtado-Perez alleges that when she confronted Menendez and told him to leave her alone, he “would not take no for an answer.” She then complained to a BWW general manager and Menendez was suspended for three days, but he did not face any additional consequences, the suit says.
“At no time whatsoever did BWW make any attempt to alleviate or address (Hurtado-Perez’s) workplace grievance or the hostile and harassing work environment (Hurtado-Perez) was being subjected to,” the suit alleges.
Hurtado-Perez says she was instead forced to continue to work under Menendez’s supervision and in the same restaurant.
Hurtado-Perez told management on Feb. 19 that she was losing sleep and having extreme anxiety at the thought of having to continue to work under Menendez’s supervision, but she was told to return to work on her next scheduled work day, when she was fired, the suit says.
According to her court papers, the plaintiff believes Menendez has “continuously sexually assaulted and harassed multiple women while working for BWW while BWW stood back and continued employing Menendez and endorsing his unlawful conduct. Consequently, BWW helped enable Menendez’s disgusting vendetta against the women who work with (him) and under his direction, control and/or authority as the managing agent of BWW.”