Press Release 11-25-2019

On The Border to Pay $100,000 to Settle Race Harassment Case

Employer Failed to Address Racially  Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged

NEW  YORK, N.Y. - On The Border Acquisitions, LLC, doing business as On The Border  Mexican Grill & Cantina (OTB), will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief  to settle a race harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, OTB failed to take action when several employees at its  Holtsville, New York location subjected an African-American cook to harassment  based on his race, including repeatedly calling him racial slurs.  Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of  the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, including  subjecting employees to a racially hostile work environment.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of New York in September 2018 (On The  Border Acquisitions, LLC, d/b/a On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina,  Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-05122), after first trying to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.   The case was litigated by EEOC trial attorney Renay Oliver and supervisory  trial attorney Nora Curtin.

"The  EEOC takes seriously its responsibility to enforce federal law and hold  employers to account. We appreciate OTB's recognition of that responsibility  and its willingness to resolve this case, avoiding a protracted litigation,"  said EEOC trial attorney Renay Oliver.

In addition to the $100,000 in  monetary relief and a letter of apology to the victim, the three-year consent  decree resolving the suit requires OTB to provide anti-discrimination and  harassment training to employees located at its Holtsville and Hicksville, New  York locations and the supervisors responsible for those locations. OTB will  also redistribute to those employees its EEO policies with a letter from its chief  people officer affirming the company's commitment to provide a workplace free  from discrimination.  The consent decree  also requires OTB to report to EEOC future complaints of race discrimination  and harassment by its New York employees. The EEOC will monitor OTB's  compliance with these obligations for the next three years.

Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the New York  District Office said, "Unfortunately, racial  harassment is all too common in the restaurant industry. Whatever the environment, employers  need to take seriously their obligations under federal law and put a  stop to harassment as soon as they become aware of it."

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.

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 our email updates.