Red Lobster Restaurants Will Pay $160,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Former Culinary Manager Sexually Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Said
BALTIMORE – Red Lobster Restaurants LLC will pay $160,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the lawsuit, the then culinary manager at the Red Lobster restaurant in Salisbury, Md., subjected Valerie Serman, Racheal Cox and Jennifer Tolbert to severe and pervasive sexual harassment, including pressing his groin against them, grabbing and groping them. The EEOC charged that the manager also frequently made sexually offensive comments, including remarks about the bodies of female employees and about his genitals. The restaurant’s general manager not only failed to take prompt action to stop the sexual harassment, but he too had a history of making vulgar and sexually charged remarks about female employees, the lawsuit claimed.
Subjecting employees to a sexually hostile work environment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Red Lobster Restaurants LLC, Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-02860-MJG) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $160,000 in monetary relief to the three claimants, the two-year consent decree enjoins Red Lobster from engaging in or condoning sexual harassment or engaging in unlawful retaliation at its Salisbury facility. The restaurant will provide training to all of its employees at that facility regarding compliance with the federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on the prohibitions against sexual harassment and retaliation, and will post a notice regarding the settlement.
“Sexual harassment should not be tolerated by any employer,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office said. “It’s especially pernicious when a manager is the alleged harasser.”
Source: Red Lobster Restaurants Will Pay $160,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, EEOC (4-29-2015). http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/4-29-15a.cfm.