UPDATE - The owner of a Merrill restaurant has been ordered to pay $41,000 in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
The announcement was made by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to a press release, one of the cooks at New Pine Ridge restaurant, Shahi N. Selmani, created a sexually hostile work environment when he repeatedly made crude remarks to waitresses and grabbed their breasts.
Selmani pled no contest on Dec. 9, 2010 in Lincoln County Circuit Court to having committed Class A misdemeanor battery against three waitresses. Charges of fourth-degree sexual assault, bail jumping and disorderly conduct were dismissed but "read into" the record of his conviction.
Newsline 9 spoke over the phone with the owner. He referred us to his lawyer for comment. Attempts to reach the attorney were not successful.
The owner of the New Pine Ridge Family Restaurant declined to comment on the accusations, but said the cook accused of sexually harassing waitresses hasn't worked there for some time.
Qemal Alimi referred Newsline 9 to his attorney for further comment. Stay tuned to Newsline 9 for updates.
(AP) -- A federal workplace-rights agency is accusing a restaurant in Merrill of failing to prevent a cook from sexually harassing waitresses.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it filed a lawsuit Monday against the New Pine Ridge Restaurant.
The EEOC says a cook created a hostile work environment by making crude comments to waitresses and grabbing their breasts.
The agency says the women complained but the restaurant owner did nothing to stop the harassment. The EEOC also alleges that some of the women were fired in retaliation for complaining.
A message left with the restaurant's owner Monday was not immediately returned.
The agency says the cook eventually pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor battery against three waitresses.
The lawsuit seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages.