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General Manager Sexually Harassed Female Employees, EEOC Said

PHILADELPHIA — The owner of six Pennsylvania Taco Bell restaurants will pay $35,000 and furnish equitable relief to settle a class sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Civil Action No. 08-01808, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the general manager of Penn Taco, Inc., doing business as Taco Bell, subjected female employees to sexual harassment at its facilities in Lancaster and Hanover, Pa. The EEOC charged that he made crude sexual overtures, gestures and comments to female employees. The agency also said that despite employee complaints, company officials failed to take appropriate measures to stop the unwelcome harassment. Taco Bell denied the allegations.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $35,000 monetary relief, as part of the two-year consent decree settling the suit, Penn Taco agreed to revise its anti-discrimination policies, provide training to supervisors and managers about the employee rights and employer obligations under Title VII, and post a notice regarding the settlement.

“We are pleased that Penn Taco worked with us to resolve the case and that it agreed to implement training and other equitable measures designed to protect its employees from unlawful sexual harassment,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.

In Fiscal Year 2008, sexual harassment filings with the EEOC jumped to 13,867, an increase of almost 11 percent from the prior fiscal year.

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