ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Denny's, Inc. for $135,000 to be paid to an 18-year-old female former employee at a restaurant in Carbondale, Illinois.
In the lawsuit filed on September 3, 2002 (Civil Action No. 02-4179-JPG), the EEOC claimed that Denny's general manager and a male co-worker sexually harassed a high school student, hired as a waitress in April 2000 at its restaurant at 1915 Sycamore in Carbondale, Illinois. The EEOC also alleged that Denny's retaliated against its former employee after she complained about unwelcome harassment by reducing her scheduled hours and terminating her employment.
As provided in the Consent Decree submitted for approval to the Federal District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois, Denny's will pay its former employee $135,000, terminate the employment of the general manager and co-worker named in the EEOC charge of discrimination, provide sexual harassment training to all employees of its Carbondale restaurant, and provide additional training for management on the handling and investigation of sexual harassment complaints. Ms. Hilliard, the former employee, is personally represented by the Carbondale law firm of Rhode and Jackson, P.C.
Lynn Bruner, the EEOC's District Director in St. Louis, stated, "As more and more young women enter the workforce, it is important that the full protections of Title VII are extended to them in order that they may reach their full potential as productive employees." Bruner added, "The EEOC must continue to be vigilant in enforcement of Title VII so that the next generation of America's workforce might enjoy the basic right of a workplace free from sexual harassment."
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits disability discrimination against employees in the private sector and state and local governments; certain prohibitions in the Rehabilitation Act against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal sector; and certain sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's Web site at www.eeoc.gov.