Restaurant Tolerated Sexual Harassment of Teen Female Server, Agency Charged
KANSAS CITY – Cactus Grill, part of a restaurant chain in the Kansas City metropolitan area that is managed by Northstar Restaurants, Inc., will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (EEOC , et al. v. Cactus Grill, Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-02290-EFM), charged that Cactus Grill discriminated against a teenage female server by permitting an older assistant manager to sexually harass her and then discharging her from her employment.
Cactus Grill had received a sexual harassment complaint about this assistant manager from at least one other female employee before this incident occurred, the EEOC said.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in May 2010 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
In addition to paying $150,000, Cactus Grill has agreed that it will not rehire the alleged harasser in any of its restaurants. The company also agreed to update its anti-discrimination policy as necessary to ensure it meets the EEOC’s requirements, and redistribute the policy to all employees. Cactus Grill also will provide training on sexual harassment and its anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure to all managers and assistant managers in its restaurants. Additionally, the company will report to the EEOC on all complaints it receives about sexual harassment for two years.
“It is imperative that restaurants employing young workers deal swiftly and effectively with sexual harassment” said Regional Attorney Barbara A. Seely of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Cactus Grill had received a prior complaint about the alleged harasser and issued him a disciplinary write-up. But the company’s actions were insufficient to deter him from harassing others. Employers need to understand they must be proactive and resolute in putting a stop to sexual harassment when they become aware of it.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.