A Portland Woman Sues Cha Cha Cha Taqueria For Gender Discrimination, Alleging Years of Sexualized Taunts

Supervisors allegedly created a "sexualized" workplace and paid women less than their male counterparts.

Cha Cha Cha (Pat Castaldo / Flickr)

A Portland woman sued Cha Cha Cha Taqueria for sexual harassment, unpaid wages and wrongful termination after she says she endured years of mistreatment.

Mayra Ramirez, who worked in accounting and human resources for the restaurant, says her managers insulted her weight and told her she was unattractive, using crude analogies.

She says her bosses, Lopez and Javier Diaz Hurtado, instructed her not to hire any pregnant women or women who intended to become pregnant. The suit claims they asked Ramirez to "show" prospective female employees so that they could decide whether the women were attractive enough to hire.

Ramirez alleges that sexualized comments frequently went ignored, and when one man who worked in the kitchen inappropriately touched another woman in the office, her supervisors told him he was only being fired because the "old ladies" had complained.

The suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday, seeks $804,943 from Cha Cha Cha, including $99,920 in back wages.

"This case for us is really just about Ms. Ramirez seeking justice, protecting workers' rights and supporting our community standards that our employees have a right to go to work in a safe environment," says Quinn Kuranz, the plaintiff's attorney.

In addition to the sexual harassment and gender discrimination, Ramirez says she was chronically paid less than men with less experience and fewer job duties. She say her managers withheld overtime pay and sometimes her paychecks bounced.

The lawsuit alleges that the company fired Ramirez after she took medical leave related to a pregnancy, despite her supervisors saying her work was good.

Cha Cha Cha Taqueria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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