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Press Release 03-17-2022

Long John Silver’s to Pay $200,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Centralia Restaurant Subjected Teenage Employee to Unwanted Touching and Sexual Advances, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – Long John Silver’s will pay $200,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that Long John Silver’s violated federal law when it subjected a teenage female employee at its Centralia, Illinois restaurant to sexual harassment. The federal agency said that the company failed to stop harassment by two adult male managers and retaliated against the teenage employee when she objected to the harassment. The alleged harassment by the two adult male managers included lewd comments, unwanted touching, propositions for sex, and sexually explicit text messages and videos. The teenage employee alleged that Long John Silver’s refused to investigate her complaint and reduced her hours in retaliation.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. LJS Opco Two, LLC d/b/a Long John Silver’s Store #70250, Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-00717) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on June 25, 2021 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit requires the company to pay $200,000 to the former employee. The decree also mandates harassment prevention policies and training on Title VII’s prohibition on sex harassment and retaliation, the posting of notices regarding the settlement, and periodic reporting to the EEOC of sex discrimination complaints received during the duration of the decree.

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, said, “We applaud the courage of the young woman who came forward to report this harassment. No woman should be forced to work in this kind of environment, and her willingness to come forward helped protect other vulnerable young women from suffering the same treatment.”

EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman added, “The EEOC is committed to addressing sexual harassment in the food service industry, particularly where the victims are vul­nerable workers such as the teenagers targeted in this case. The EEOC hopes this case will serve as a warning to employers to monitor their workplaces for harassment and respond appropriately to complaints.”

According to company information, Long John Silver’s operates 190 fast food restaurants throughout the United States that specialize in seafood.

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

The EEOC’s Youth@Work website (at presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination, including curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.

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.