A former employee of a West Valley Chuck-A-Rama says the blatant sexual harassment by other workers created an intolerable work environment that eventually forced her to quit her job.

Shaleen Warner filed a lawsuit in 3rd District Court on July 8 seeking compensatory and punitive damages and attorney's fees and costs.Warner began working at the Chuck-A-Rama at 4150 S. Redwood Road in February 1997. Her job required that she go back and forth from the serving area to the kitchen.

Warner alleges that she was inappropriately touched and propositioned by the Spanish-speaking kitchen workers. When she reported the incidents to the kitchen manager, the offending employees were verbally reprimanded but no one was fired because of the complaints, the lawsuit states.

Warner further alleges that two of the restaurant's service managers inappropriately commented on the female customers' breast sizes and asked her to come in to the office and expose herself.

On one occasion, Warner said she was in the walk-in refrigerator when two workers came in, turned out the lights and fondled her.

According to the suit, the restaurant's manager would talk to the kitchen workers through an interpreter after she reported the incidents of harassment. Warner says she was ostracized and encountered a hostile working environment thereafter, forcing her to eventually quit her job.

Chuck-A-Rama is charged with four counts relating to sexual harassment: exposing workers to a hostile working environment; retaliating against the plaintiff; forcing termination; and failing to take immediate action against offenders.

The corporate offices of Chuck-A-Rama Buffet Inc. declined to comment on the case.