Chain of Franchises Subjected Employees to Sexual Harassment and Retaliation, Federal Agency Charges
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Several franchisees of the popular IHOP restaurant chain in Nevada and New York violated federal law when they failed to prevent and correct ongoing sexual harassment and retaliation against their employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
The EEOC filed suit against the following entities: Lucinda Management, LLC, Centennial Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, Nellis Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, Vegas Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, Cheyenne Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, Craig Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, Bayshore Food Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, DiHop Corporation dba IHOP Restaurant, and Cooper Street Clam and Oyster Bar, LLC.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the defendants subjected employees to a hostile work environment based on sex and took no corrective action when the employees complained to local management about the harassment. The defendants also took retaliatory action against some of the employees who complained about the harassment including reducing work hours and termination. The defendants' written sexual harassment policy, which required complaints to be made to the corporate office in writing within 72 hours of the harassing incident, does not shield defendants from liability where local managers were on notice of the harassment yet took no action.
The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (EEOC v. Lucinda Management, LLC., et. al., Case Number: 2:17-cv-02458) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC's suit seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the complainants and class members, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent the defendants from engaging in further discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
"Employers must ensure that employees have every opportunity to report incidents of sexual harassment and take prompt corrective action when they receive complaints," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Nevada in its jurisdiction.
Wendy Martin, director of the EEOC's Las Vegas Local Office, added, "Employers should carefully review their sexual harassment policies to evaluate whether they will be effective in preventing and promptly correcting sexual harassment and deterring retaliation."
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.