5th & Wine lawsuit: Scottsdale wine bar managers, staff hit with discrimination lawsuit

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 00:51:41-05

The managers and staff of a Scottsdale wine bar have been accused of harassing two employees because of their perceived sexual identities, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

According to a news release from the EEOC, "5th & Wine allowed its management and line staff to harass two male servers based on their actual and perceived sexual orientation" between 2012 and 2013.

"The alleged harassment included egregious name calling, comments, innuendos and touching," the release said.

According to the complaint, co-workers would make sexually-charged comments about oral sex and anal sex toward the employees on repeated occasions, as well as referring to them as a "f*g" or "f****t."

One of the employees was gay, while the other was perceived to be gay, according to the complaint.

While the plaintiffs are identified in the filing, ABC15 is withholding their names to protect their privacy.

The two employees reported the alleged harassment to their managers, but the supervisors either did nothing or allegedly participated in the name calling themselves, the EEOC said.

According to the complaint, one of the employees was made to feel like the situation was "his fault" after alerting a manager, while a second second supervisor "refused to document any of [his] complaints." 

5th and Wine's counsel told ABC15 their client would not be commenting on the pending litigation.

The complaint also alleges that when one of the employees threatened to file charges, he was fired. The other employee later quit.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit after efforts to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed.

The news was first reported by the Phoenix New Times. Since then, a handful of people have left negative comments on the restaurant's Facebook page, which has not commented on the lawsuit.

The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages.