A former line cook at the Olive Garden in Baltimore County’s White Marsh Mall is suing the restaurant’s parent company and accusing a coworker of repeatedly sexually harassing and assaulting her.

The federal lawsuit, filed May 9, says the line cook’s bosses let the situation continue for months and failed to discipline the coworker who was harassing her, ultimately leading the woman to quit her job.

The plaintiff is identified as a Jane Doe in the suit, and she’s suing Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden’s parent company. She’s seeking a jury trial, lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages and more.

The lawsuit says one of the woman’s coworkers “consistently rubbed and pressed his crotch against Plaintiff’s behind when he walked behind her” several times per shift.

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The plaintiff “felt violated and feared for her safety every day” and was “constantly on edge and humiliated while at work,” according to the lawsuit.

The woman began working at the Olive Garden in August 2022, and the coworker “began making unwanted physical contact” with her within a week, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says anytime the woman would bend over to get ice from a machine, the male coworker “found a way to position himself directly behind her and press his crotch up against her behind.”

It also alleges the coworker walked by the plaintiff and “rubbed himself against her” even though there were other paths he could have taken back to his workstation.

In early October 2022, the woman told a general manager at the restaurant about the behavior. The manager said the plaintiff “should not ‘miss out on a husband,’” according to the lawsuit, and did not do anything to address the behavior.

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The lawsuit says that the “tolerance” of the behavior “emboldened” the man who, on Nov. 30, 2022, allegedly “physically held a door against Plaintiff, wedging her up against a towel rack.” The woman was so upset by the incident she decided to speak to police and another manager, who said she thought the general manager “had already addressed the situation.”

Days later, the plaintiff was told the coworker “knows not to do it again” and that he would not be losing his job. For months, managers continued to schedule the plaintiff and the man to work at the same time, until the woman felt forced to leave her job in early 2023, the suit says.

The suit accuses managers of giving the plaintiff fewer hours after she complained and training new hires to take over her responsibilities. Eventually, she had “no choice” but to resign in March 2023.

In May 2023, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and was given a notice of right to sue in early February 2024, according to the lawsuit.

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In a May 29 filing, Darden moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. Lawyers for the company said the woman “has not sufficiently alleged that her working conditions were so intolerable that a reasonable person in her position would have felt compelled to resign.”

A lawyer from the law firm Littler Mendelson, who is representing Darden in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.