Two male former employees of Hooters in Los Angeles have filed a lawsuit against international breastaurant chain Hooters and their former boss for sexual harassment. PJ Cagnina and Scott Person claim they were fired after reporting their male supervisor for said harassment, reports CBS.
Attorney Jason Oliver says his clients were subjected to "repeated, intense acts which were intended to cause mental harm to the plaintiffs, to humiliate them, to undermine them." The filing details multiple instances of harassment by Peterson and Cagnina's supervisor, Jason Leukert, over several years, reports NBC. Leukert is also the CEO of Hoot Winc, LLC, which owns and operates multiple Hooters franchises on the West Coast.
In one incident, the plaintiffs accuse Leukert of throwing Cagnina down in a parking lot and engaging in "simulated sodomy." The filing states that Leukert also "continually tried getting Mr. Cagnina to go skinny dipping with female employees" and once took the cell phone of another female manager Cagnina was dating and looked at his "private, intimate photos." Cagnina says that he was also regularly called "cagina" because it rhymed with "vagina," among other names.
In the claim, Peterson further alleges that he was touched inappropriately on several occasions by his employer and spoken to in sexually demeaning ways in front of other employees. The pair says they eventually confronted their supervisor and he was investigated and fired. However, not long after Peterson was also fired, which he believes was in retaliation for his statements against Leukert.
In response to the lawsuit, Hooters corporate released the following statement: "This matter involves a franchised location and its employees in California. We have no independent knowledge of the facts and are therefore unable to comment."
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of the business, Hooters has gained a reputation for inappropriate and harassing conduct in the workplace, as one Undercover Boss discovered. The chain has faced a number of discrimination lawsuits in the past. In 2013, a waitress sued the restaurant claiming she was forced out of the job for refusing to wear a wig after undergoing brain surgery. That same year, another waitress in Baltimore filed a lawsuit alleged she was fired for violating an "employee image standard" that unfairly discriminated against people of color.
Watch the full CBS report below: