KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Southeast Food Services, a large franchisee formerly operating over 30 restaurants as Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, will pay $20,000 to settle a retaliation charge filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
A former employee filed a charge with the EEOC's Nashville office alleging Southeast Food Services (Southeast Food) required employees to sign a general release to receive a promotion. A provision in the release prohibited employees from exercising their right to file discrimination complaints. The EEOC's investigation found that Southeast retaliated against the former employee by rescinding a promotion offer after the employee selected for promotion refused to sign the general release. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Without admitting liability and to avoid the cost of litigation, Southeast Food agreed to enter into a one-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the alleged aggrieved party, thereby avoiding litigation. During the EEOC's investigation, Southeast Food ceased its practice of requiring the general release as a condition of promotion.
"Southeast Food Services has been cooperative in working with the EEOC to resolve this charge without having to resort to litigation," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC's Memphis District, which includes Nashville in its jurisdiction. "We commend Southeast Food Services' willingness to reassess and change its promotion process so that employees no longer have to forfeit their civil rights to receive a promotion."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.