Former employee files sexual harassment complaint against downtown restaurant

CHICAGO — A former employee at a downtown Chicago restaurant filed a sexual harassment complaint, alleging that he endured a “toxic culture of abuse.”

Civic leaders and activist stood with Rodrigo Soto, a former busboy, on Wednesday as he stood outside the Purple Pig restaurant on Michigan Avenue. Soto said he was sexually harassed by three coworkers at the restaurant. His federal complaint also said many other employees faced ongoing sexual harassment from other coworkers for months.

According to a statement sent by the United Workers’ Center, each time Soto attempted to report the sexual harassment to management, his complaints were dismissed, and sometimes laughed at.

The complaint said employees at the Purple Pig grabbed Soto inappropriately and said one of them used a homophobic slur. The complaint also said one employee would show him homosexual pornography at work and offer to perform oral sex on him. Soto said he constantly told the employees to stop.

At the press conference Wednesday, Soto’s supporters called on the restaurant’s owner, Jimmy Bannos Jr., to take action and assure that the “toxic culture of abuse” ends at all of his restaurants.

Soto worked at the Purple Pig from July 2017 until May 2018. He quit his job due to the alleged harassment.

The United Worker’s Center said some Purple Pig employees not only faced alleged sexual harassment, but they also reported a generally hostile work environment,

The Purple Pig issued the following statement in response to the allegations:

The Purple Pig has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination of any kind. Our colleagues are obligated to report any concerns to our management team, as detailed in a written policy in our employee handbook. In compliance with workplace laws, we take all complaints very seriously, investigating them promptly and thoroughly, and with sensitivity toward confidentiality.

As a business built upon the foundation of immigration to the United States by our own ancestors, we are proud to foster a welcoming, supportive environment for all of our team members.

We look forward to continuing to set a positive example for the hospitality community in Chicago and beyond.

To read the complaint filed by Rodrigo Soto CLICK HERE.

Soto v. Purple Pig – Redacted IDHR Complaint by WGN Web Desk on Scribd

United Workers’ Center Press Release by WGN Web Desk on Scribd