A former bartender at Texas Roadhouse in St. Joseph is suing the restaurant and her former manager alleging she was sexually harassed by a customer without management stepping in.
Brittany Gallatin began working at the restaurant in June 2013 and was promoted to bartender in 2015. According to the lawsuit, on Sept. 28, 2018, a customer sitting at the bar began making suggestive comments, asked Gallatin about her sexual activity, tried to make her see pornographic images on his phone and tried to get her to come back to his hotel room.
In her suit, Gallatin claims to have told the customer that he was being offensive, and she contends she told her manager that she was being harassed and pointed out the man.
“Remember, we’re the friendliest place in town,” the manager allegedly told her, according to the lawsuit.
The customer was not removed from the restaurant and continued to harass Gallatin until closing time, the lawsuit alleges.
Gallatin alleges this was not the only incident, with the man coming in two to three times a week and harassing her and other female employees. According to the lawsuit, the situation got to the point that female employees were being escorted to their cars for fear of running into the customer in the parking lot.
Gallatin alleges she was taken off bartending duty and was told she was being a problem on Nov. 2, 2018. The woman then complained about the situation with the customer directly to the corporate office, and the next day all employees in the restaurant were made to complete a survey about operations at that location, according to the lawsuit.
Gallatin’s suit alleges she requested on Nov. 7 to be transferred to a location in Kansas City but was told by manager that she was “a problem” and couldn’t to transfer.” The manager later allegedly apologized for the comment, telling her that she was an outstanding bartender, according to the lawsuit.
Three days later, Gallatin was called into a meeting where she was told that she would no longer be getting hours as a server at the restaurant, according to the lawsuit. Ten days after her termination, she heard a response from the corporate office about her complaint of being sexually harassed.
Gallatin is suing for sexual harassment/hostile work environment, constructive discharge, retaliation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Texas Roadhouse said that they are aware the lawsuit, and that they researched the allegations of sexual harassment prior to the lawsuit being filed.
"The plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said Travis Doster of Texas Roadhouse. "After investigating, the EEOC found no violation of law and the matter was dismissed. We remain committed to providing a positive and respectful work environment for our employees and we expect to demonstrate that in court."