A Virginia waiter has reason to celebrate this week. A court awarded him a $20,000 payout after he filed a lawsuit claiming fellow employees harassed him while working at the El Tio Tex-Mex Grill.
The waiter, who has remained anonymous throughout the lawsuit, will split a $40,000 payout with another straight employee who also reported harassment for associating with him. The two plaintiffs both reported fellow employees taunting them with homophobic slurs and comments about their sexual orientation.
As part of the settlement, the restaurant will be further banned from engaging in harassment over sexual orientation. At present, Virginia law only prohibits anti-LGBTQ discrimination in government jobs.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs also praised the verdict. “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that no employee or applicant is discriminated against or harassed based on sexual orientation,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement. “We are gratified that El Tio worked with the EEOC to reach an amicable resolution of this lawsuit. The consent decree includes significant equitable relief that will benefit all company employees.”