Medford restaurant sued by Feds over sexual harassment

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A civil rights lawsuit filed by a federal agency accuses the owners of a Medford restaurant of subjecting employees to sexual abuse and harassment, even after a manager was convicted on a criminal charge of harassment involving an employee.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against New China, Inc. last week in U.S. District Court in Medford, the Mail Tribune reported.

The lawsuit draws from two complaints filed with the EEOC and Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which described a hostile work environment for female employees.

The complaints included allegations that a restaurant manager repeatedly subjected young women inappropriate touching since at least July 2017 and asked a 15-year-old employee to text him nude pictures of herself, according to information from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The manager, named in a Labor and Industries complaint as Michael Li Gan of Medford, was arrested in 2017 on charges of harassment and third-degree sexual abuse. Gan was sentenced to 11 months of probation and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty to harassment, court records show.

The EEOC alleges that despite the repeated employee complaints and the manager’s guilty plea, the restaurant failed to stop Gan’s behavior or discharge him.

The EEOC said it is seeking financial compensation for the victims and punitive damages against the restaurant owners, with amounts to be determined at trial.

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