A former Cheesecake Factory bakery worker is suing the company and two former managers after she alleges they harassed her and then fired her. The Los Angeles worker says the sexual harassment started with inappropriate comments and escalated to touching and unwanted text messages to the woman. The managers later fired the woman.

The company claims that the woman was fired for stealing tips from a fellow employee, and they say that the decision to fire the woman was made by a staff relations manager, not either of the two who are accused of harassment.

The woman says that the other employee never complained of losing tips, and the woman being harassed even paid the other employee money to resolve the dispute. She also requested to be transferred to a different store because she felt uncomfortable, but her request was denied.

The defense in this case tried to have the case dismissed saying that the employee was fired for stealing, not as retaliation for the sexual harassment claims. The judge in the case said that the case could go to trial.

The woman worked for the company for over three years before being fired and had started to take on managerial responsibilities in the bakery of the restaurant. She says she faced sexual harassment from two managers at the Los Angeles restaurant, and was fired after rejecting their advances.

It is important that every employee feels safe in their work environment, and works in a place free of sexual harassment. Those who report sexual harassment are also protected from retaliation by employers if they report harassment in the workplace.

Source: Daily News, “Woodland Hills restaurant worker can take sexual harassment suit to trial,” Feb. 17, 2012