A former Taco Bell employee is suing the restaurant after a Christmas party turned explicit when colleagues started to partake in sexual acts, with others vomiting on the buffet.
Alana Bechiom, a former cashier at the restaurant, is filing a lawsuit after a Christmas party turned raunchy and a series of incidents at the event forced her to quit.
Bechiom went to the party, which was on December 18 the previous year, accompanied by her sister and her sister’s partner. However, once they had arrived at the party, they realised Bechiom’s manager, Lidia Ruiz, had covered the restaurant’s windows with wrapping paper and obscured CCTV camera’s from viewing the party.
Allegedly, Ruiz provided alcohol to staff and engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with a colleague. While another worker engaged in explicit acts with his wife at the event in front of everyone.
Read more from us
Festivity, not debauchery | Now is the time to ensure that your Christmas celebrations don't turn sour
Bechiom also alleges that colleagues, including Ruiz, began vomiting in the restaurant on top of food items employees had brought in as part of a potluck – Bechiom claims her manager vomited on a bowl of guacamole she had made.
After the party, Bechiom reported the incident to the company’s HR, when following an investigation, Ruiz and other employees involved in the misconduct were sacked.
The lawsuit claims that some of the former workers retaliated by vandalising Bechiom’s car and sending her threatening text messages, including texts expressing desires to harm her.
Bechiom alleges that Taco Bell failed to adequately address the threats sent from former employees, as instead of taking action against the employees who were threatening, the restaurant transferred Bechiom to a new location.
Values and company culture
A variety of industries have been struck with sexual misconduct allegations. Outlining a strong company culture and values plays a crucial role in ensuring employees behave appropriately.
“With the recent McDonald’s allegations by employees of harassment and bullying and now the incident at Taco Bell, it highlights how important culture is within the workplace,” says CEO and founder of & Evolve, Amrit Sandhar.
“When values are shared with employees. they need to be lived and breathed by those sharing them, and the culture should be aligned to them in every way. It raises the question, that whilst a lot of effort goes into ensuring franchisees understand how to operate within their franchise licence, ensuring the product offering remains of the highest quality and consistency, how much effort goes into embedding the culture of the wider organisation?
“These examples continue to show us the immense importance of workplace culture, and what happens when there is little effort to attract and align people to it.”