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EMPLOYMENT in an equal employment Opportunity Commission-initiated suit alleging sexual harassment by a restaurant manager, five female employees were awarded $1.55 million total by a federal jury on June 20. The employees of the Rio Bravo restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., claimed that, at various times from 1996 to 1998, manager Robert Evans forced them to submit to “leg-shave checks” and to “panty checks,” in which he’d grope their buttocks to ensure that they weren’t wearing “granny panties.” The restaurant argued that the women made no formal complaints until 1998, at which time Evans was promptly suspended. The restaurant was awarded $50,000 on its third-party claim against Evans. EEOC v. Rio Bravo International Inc., No. 99-1371-CIV-T-17A (M.D. Fla.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Tommy Roebig Jr. and Chris Gray, Florin, Roebig & Walker, Palm Harbor, Fla.; Ken Gillespie and Carla Von Greif, EEOC, Miami DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Peter Zinober and Scott Silverman, Zinober & McCrea, Tampa, Fla.

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