The EEOC has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against SPOA, LLC, the owner of Basta Pasta restaurants in Fallston and Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland.
The female employees claim that Sakellis was a bad boss who sexually harassed them by rubbing his genitalia against and touching them on their buttocks, pulling an employee’s bra strap, making crude sexually suggestive comments about them and their bodies, and asking them for massages.
According to the complaint, Sakellis frequently told “female employees he wanted to take them home,” stated that “his wife would be angry if she saw him touching a female employee,” and making comments like “look at that ass” and “Oh, the things I want to do to you.”
The EEOC alleges that Sakellis sexually assaulted two employees. According to the complaint, he gave alcohol to one employee, “after which she passed out and later woke up vomiting, causing her to believe that he drugged her in an attempt to rape her.”
Another employee claims that Sakellis gave her alcohol after her shift and then took her to his home “ostensibly to discuss a ‘management opportunity, insisting she drink more alcohol at his home during which time she believes she was slipped a date rape drug because she became dizzy and paralyzed, during which time he sexually assaulted her.”
The EEOC also alleges that a manager at the restaurant, Dimitra Kokkinakos, was threatened to “keep her mouth shut” and then fired in retaliation after she complained to Sakellis about his sexually charged behavior, helped an employee who claims she was sexually assaulted by Sakellis, and participated in the EEOC investigation.
Kokkinakos claims that she was pressured to recant her testimony by the company and was threatened with a defamation lawsuit after her participation with the EEOC investigation.
EEOC director Spencer Lewis said, “No employee, male or female, should have to endure being subjected to offensive sexual comments and touching in order to earn a living, but the unlawful harassment is even more vile and intolerable when it includes sexual assaults by a company owner.”