Imagine you’re a teenage girl working for low wages at a McDonald’s, and the male employees harass you at work by kissing you, touching your private areas, and forcing your hand onto the men’s private parts.
Then, when you complain, the company fires you. What would you do?
Four brave women decided not to take it. They stood up to the employer and the men who were terrorizing them by filing charges of sexual harassment and retaliation with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC announced that the employer will pay $1,000,000 to ten women, some of whom are teenagers, as compensation for the sexual harassment and retaliation they suffered. The employer will also be subject to a continuing consent decree requiring, among other things, that it post notices in its restaurants about the sexual harassment lawsuit and implement a comprehensive training program to enable its employees to identify sexual harassment and properly investigate internal complaints.
Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry Is Common
Sadly, this case is not unusual. EEOC General Counsel P. David López commented that “sexual harassment in the restaurant industry remains a problem nationwide.”
The good news is that help is available from experienced lawyers willing to take on these cases with no up-front fees and from the EEOC. EEOC General Counsel López pledged that harassment will not be accepted as simply “part of the culture” of the restaurant industry. “As seen in this case,” he stated, “many younger workers’ first experience with the workplace is in this industry and it is important that harassment of these employees not be tolerated.”
Be aware that you must act quickly. Under some circumstances, you must file a claim within 180 days. In other cases, you have 300 days to assert your rights. Contact The Howley Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a sexual harassment and hostile work environment attorney.