By Janine Puhak
Published March 05, 2019
A restaurant in Orlando, Fla., has agreed to pay a former bartender $80,000 in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit in which the woman claimed she was told to dress “sexy” and “date-ready” at work. The woman was fired from "Christini," in the famed Orlando Restaurant Row, after complaining to management about the mistreatment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last month that Christini's Ristorante Italiano had reached a settlement with the former employee, identified by the Orlando Sentinel as Jameslyn Marcisz.
According to the news release, owner Chris Christakos, colloquially known Chris Christini, “created and encouraged a work environment in which unwelcome, sexually charged comments and conduct was permissible and commonplace,” allowing for the “repeated propositioning” of Marcisz.
The married mother of two was “described to restaurant patrons as single and available to date them, subjected to sexual innuendo and told to dress "sexy" and "date-ready," among other things during her time employed at the restaurant, from August 2015 to March 2017.
After complaining to Christini about the volatile work environment, the Sentinel reported, Marcisz was swiftly fired, prompting her to file a lawsuit against Christini's in September 2018.
Moving forward, Christini’s has been tasked with providing “significant injunctive relief” for its staffers to prevent workplace harassment and retaliation in the future. According to the EEOC, the establishment will have to provide mandatory anti-harassment training for Christini and all restaurant employees, develop and distribute a written anti-harassment policy, implement an independent telephone hotline for employees to report any incidents of discrimination or harassment and submit a “confidential, anonymous” workplace climate survey to the federal agency.
Reps for Christini’s will also provide Marcisz with a “positive written job reference,” as per the EEOC.
Though a spokesperson for Christini’s did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment on the story, a lawyer for the restaurant told the Senintel in a Feb. 22 statement that the eatery “still denies the allegations” and “does not tolerate sexual harassment in the restaurant and does not retaliate against any employees, including those who report harassment.”
“Although Christini’s has strong defenses to the claims, the matter was resolved to avoid further cost of litigation. This resolution is in no way an admission of liability by Christini’s,” attorney Alison K. Thomas said on behalf of the restaurant.
As noted by the Orlando Sentinel, fine-dining joint Christini’s has hosted many celebrity guests including Stan Lee, Brooke Shields, Arnold Palmer and Mick Jagger since it opened in 1984.