Settlement reached in sexual harassment case against Hooters
LOS ANGELES — One of two men who alleged they were sexually harassed by a male boss while working for Hooters reached a settlement with the restaurant chain.
Court papers filed July 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court by Hooters attorneys stated that the part of the case filed by Scott Peterson was resolved. No terms were divulged.
In May 2017, the second plaintiff, Paul “PJ” Cagnina, obtained a settlement. The terms also were not revealed in his portion of the case.
The suit was filed in March 2016 and sought unspecified damages, as well as a court order directing Hooters to stop allowing sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.
Hooters lawyers stated in their court papers that the company has a strict written policy forbidding sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The attorneys denied the plaintiffs suffered any damages.
Peterson alleged his boss repeatedly touched him in an inappropriate way and talked about him in a sexually demeaning manner during meetings of general managers. The supervisor also sent Peterson photos of a female co-worker with whom he claimed to have slept and also told him about a two-year relationship he had with another woman employee, the suit alleged.
Cagnina alleged that after a bikini contest at the Hooters in Costa Mesa, the plaintiffs’ boss “threw Mr. Cagnina down to the parking lot” and engaged in a simulated sex act with the plaintiff in front of others.
The supervisor also “continually tried getting Mr. Cagnina to go skinny dipping with female employees” who were the plaintiff’s subordinates, but Cagnina refused, according to the suit.
The boss once took the cell phone of a female Hooters general manager Cagnina was dating and viewed “private, intimate photos” of the plaintiff on the device, the complaint alleged.
While Cagnina was being honored as a new general manager, the boss said in front of others that he told his assistant to write an unflattering name, “PGay,” on the plaintiff’s trophy instead of his actual name, the suit alleged. The supervisor also referred to Cagnina often as “cagina” because it rhymed with “vagina,” the suit states.
The boss once started an executive store meeting by asking Cagnina if he “had been impregnating any Hooters’ girls lately” and suggested he was the father of an expectant company employee’s baby, the suit alleged.
Both Cagnina and Peterson maintained they were retaliated against after they complained about the boss’ alleged misconduct. Peterson says he was ultimately fired.