Women, like men, want to do their work in peace, make money and advance their careers. Being subject to harassment, however, throws all of that asunder and makes work life unnecessarily difficult. It can also result in personal, public and legal issues for the person accused of doing the harassing. That fact was illustrated this week when a Florida Keys woman walked into a federal court and filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a well-known restaurant owner.
The case has become very high-profile because the restaurant owner is also an Islamorada Village councilman who is pursuing a position on the Monroe Board of County Commissioners.
He is accused in the lawsuit of making unwanted sexual advances towards a woman in the workplace, including allegedly touching her inappropriately in front of customers and co-workers. That behavior, according to the lawsuit, occurred across a 10-month period while she was working as a server at the councilman’s restaurant, which is called Mangrove Mike’s Café and is located in Islamadora at mile marker 82.
The councilman denies all of the allegations that have been made against him in the lawsuit.
Those allegations, in addition to inappropriate touching, include inappropriate comments directed at the woman by the councilman both at work and on social media. Worse, according to the lawsuit, the councilman allegedly reduced the woman’s hours at the restaurant after she rejected his unsavory advances, eventually not scheduling her at all and leaving her with no financially viable option but to quit.
The councilman denies that too, saying that the entire lawsuit exists because the woman is angry about not having gotten sufficient hours to qualify for unemployment benefits from the state after she quit. Naturally, the “he said she said” contentions in play will need to be sorted out to resolve this sexual harassment lawsuit.