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Mendota Restaurants, Inc. To Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Class Sex Harassment Lawsuit

Female Employees at Mendota  KFC/Taco Bell Were Sexually Harassed by Manager, Subjected to Retaliation, Federal  Agency Charged

CHICAGO - Mendota Restaurants, Inc. d/b/a KFC/Taco Bell,  located on Route 34 in Mendota, Ill., will pay $150,000 to settle a class sexual  harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. 

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Mendota Restaurants,  Inc. subjected a class of female employees to sexual harassment and retaliated  against those who complained about the harassment by discharging or  constructively discharging them.  The  suit also alleged that the harassment, which lasted for over a year, was  committed by a store manager against many young women and included several  sexual assaults.  At least five of the  women complained to the Mendota Police Department.  The lawsuit was assigned to Judge Ronald  Guzman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and  Magistrate Judge Susan Cox entered the consent decree resolving the case, which  is captioned EEOC v. Mendota Restaurants,  Inc. d/b/a KFC/Taco Bell, 11 C 6845.

In addition to requiring that Mendota Restaurants, Inc. pay  monetary relief to 12 victims, the three-year consent decree resolving the case  enjoins Mendota Restaurants, Inc. from engaging in further sex-based  discrimination and/or retaliation.  The  consent decree also requires that the company hire an outside monitor to handle  any future complaints of sexual harassment over the next three years and that  it provide training to all employees, including supervisory employees, in its Mendota  store; that it submit periodic reports to EEOC about any complaints of sex discrimination  and/or retaliation; and that Mendota Restaurants, Inc. post a notice at various  locations within its facility regarding the outcome of this lawsuit. 

"This case should put owners on notice that when they  learn of sexual harassment, they need to take action to stop it," said EEOC  Trial Attorney June Wallace Calhoun.   "We are especially glad that we have been able to send a message to  employers in the Mendota, Ill. area that EEOC is watching." 

EEOC's Chicago  Regional Attorney John Hendrickson, added, "EEOC takes seriously sexual  harassment of young women at restaurants, of which we see a lot. Some employers  make the double mistake of retaliating against employees who are brave enough  to complain.  Both sex harassment and  retaliation, in the form of reducing employees' hours, assigning them to worse  shifts, and termination, violate Title VII.  We hope that other employers will become  educated about their legal obligations as a result of this case."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct  of agency litigation in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and  South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. 

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in  employment.  Further information about  the Commission is available on its web site at