Cafe Intermezzo located in Midtown Atlanta, at 1065 Peachtree St.
Photo: BECCA GODWIN / BECCA. GODWIN@AJC.COM
Photo: BECCA GODWIN / BECCA. GODWIN@AJC.COM

Cafe Intermezzo denies server's sexual harassment lawsuit claims

A lawsuit filed last week claims a former Cafe Intermezzo employee was sexually harassed by other employees and fired by the management. 

The lawsuit, which names Cafe Intermezzo as the defendant, says the server was subjected to numerous lewd, graphic, unwanted, offensive sexual comments, overtures and propositions and other harassing conduct. 

Sharonda Fields began working at the Midtown Atlanta location, at 1065 Peachtree St., in April 2016. The company also has locations in Dunwoody, Alpharetta and the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The restaurant could’ve prevented the plaintiff from the “harmful conduct” and “failed to do so,” the filing says.    

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Midtown manager Brian J. Olson said Cafe Intermezzo strictly prohibits harassment, and it directs “every employee to promptly report any suspected incident of harassment.”

“Cafe policy also provides that, if any complaint is ever raised, it will be promptly addressed, without any sort of retaliation against anyone who raises a concern in good faith,” Olson said in an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Accordingly, Cafe Intermezzo vigorously disputes claims filed by a former employee that she was not treated in full compliance with Cafe policy...”

The filing claims two dishwashers harassed Fields for months. She reported details to three managers, a general manager, a regional manager and a senior executive, the suit says, but it contends her complaints “fell on deaf ears.” 

The managers and dishwashers are not listed as defendants. 

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In late November, Fields quit after one of the dishwashers said an “outrageous, vile and mean-spirited thing” about her deceased mother and said he’d kill Fields, the suit says. She filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the next day.

Days later, she “reluctantly returned to work ... after she received assurances that it was safe for her to do so,” the lawsuit says. 

In late January, Fields was told she was fired because she asked another employee “to provide false information or falsely support a claim against” Cafe Intermezzo in exchange for money, the suit says. 

But that wasn’t true, according to the lawsuit, which claims she was fired because she reported sexual harassment. 

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation.

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In other restaurant news:

The owner said the robbers got away with all of the restaurant’s cash, employees’ cellphones, wallets and purses.

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