LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A jury sided with pizza chain Sbarro on Friday in a lawsuit from a once-undocumented worker who said a restaurant manager sexually assaulted her and threatened her with deportation at a location on the Las Vegas Strip.
The federal trial over claims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation lasted two weeks. In court documents, Sandra Perez claimed the manager at the now-closed Sbarro Pizza inside the Monte Carlo hotel raped her on a weekly basis inside the location’s walk-in cooler in 2016.
If she did not comply, her boss would alert immigration authorities about his employee’s undocumented status, the lawsuit claimed. The Monte Carlo is now the Park MGM.
The company transferred Perez to a different Sbarro location on the Las Vegas Strip later that year, the lawsuit said.
“We are extremely pleased with today’s jury trial outcome in which Sbarro was acquitted on all charges,” Sbarro CEO David Karam said in a statement. “Since Ms. Perez brought her claims forward six years ago, Sbarro has consistently denied her allegations and we are grateful to now put an end to this process. We are thankful that the jury recognized Sbarro’s immediate and thorough response when Perez’s allegations were brought to our attention. Sbarro is proud of our welcoming and inclusive workplace and strives to maintain a wholesome and professional environment for all of our valued associates.”
In 2018, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission confirmed Perez’s allegation of a “sexually hostile work environment,” effectively allowing her to sue. Sbarro denied the claim at the time, according to the NERC, “because various employees frequently go back and forth between the front and back of the store.”
In a deposition, the manager did not deny having sex with Perez at the restaurant but denied it constituted rape. No criminal charges were ever filed. The jury sided with him in its verdict.
“We’re disappointed by the result and we are evaluating all options,” Perez’s attorneys said in a statement, “In the fullness of time, we expect that the legal system will deliver the appropriate measure of justice.”
Last week, attorneys for Perez filed a motion for a mistrial in the case over claims made in court regarding Perez’s immigration status. Perez said she has obtained a Green Card since her 2016 employment with Sbarro.