Young restaurant workers were secretly recorded by a video camera in the bathroom of a South Bay restaurant, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The allegation was lodged Thursday in a federal complaint against Achiote's restaurant in San Ysidro.
The lawsuit stems from an investigation launched after an employee reported being videtaped in the restroom in May 2012.
Adrian Macias is named in the lawsuit and is accused of using a hidden cell phone to secretly record male workers aged 19 to 21.
Macias is identified in court documents as a manager with the restaurant.
An Achiote’s manager told NBC 7 Friday that an Assistant General Manager was accused of using his cell phone camera to record men in the bathroom. The Assistant General Manager was investigated by SDPD, and lost his job with Achiote’s, the manager told us.
An EEOC attorney said the company allegedly retaliated against employees who complained about the camera by cutting their hours and making comments to ostracize them.
“You can't prevent bad things from happening sometimes but certainly companies can control their actions in response to that,” said EEOC Attorney Anna Park.
When discovering the device in May 2012, a 21-year-old server immediately called the San Diego police.
SDPD investigated the manager for violating peeping tom laws and forwarded the case to the City Attorney's office. The CIty Attorney's office charged Macias with one count of disturbing the peace, according to SDPD. Macias was never arrested or booked into jail on the charge, according to SDPD.
The restaurant manager who spoke to NBC 7 said the server tried to sue the restaurant for $250,000 but that attempt failed. He also claimed the server would sometimes not show up for work.
Achiote’s is located in the Las Americas Premium Outlet mall just north of the U.S.-Mexico border.