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Press Release 12-10-2020

Protocol Restaurant to Pay $90,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Suit

Owner Subjected Female Employees to a Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Protocol of Amherst, Inc., doing business as Protocol Restaurant in Buffalo, will pay $90,000 and take other steps to settle a sex harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Paul Pelczynski, the restaurant’s owner and general manager, sexually harassed female employees by, among other things, engaging in numerous instances of inappro­priate physical contact. The EEOC charged that Protocol discharged female employees who objected to Pelczynski’s conduct or rejected his advances, and that other female employees quit because they could no longer endure the hostile work environment.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York (EEOC v. Protocol of Amherst, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-598-LJV-JJM) after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit requires Protocol to pay $90,000 to the women victimized by the harassment and provides that Pelczynski abstain from management or supervision of restaurant employees during the duration of the decree.

“I applaud the women who came forward and exposed the long-standing hostile work environment at Protocol Restaurant, and I hope this settlement provides some measure of justice for the workers,” said former EEOC Trial Attorney Elizabeth Fox-Solomon, who litigated this case along with Supervisory Trial Attorney Kimberly Cruz.

Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, said, “The EEOC is pleased that it was able to obtain compensation for workers who were sexually harassed.”

The EEOC’s New York District director, Judy Keenan, added, “No one should be forced to endure sexual advances or inappropriate physical contact to earn a living. The EEOC is com­mitted to ensuring that all workers are free from sexual harassment on the job.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Preventing systemic harassment through enforcement and targeted outreach is a national priority identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). To learn more about the EEOC's strategic plan and enforcement priorities, visit .

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.