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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


EEOC Said 18-Year-Old Employee Sexually Harassed by General Manager

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Burger King Corporation will pay $85,000 and furnish significant non-monetary relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that a female employee of the Clemmons, N.C., Burger King was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment when she was 18-years-old.

The EEOC charged in its lawsuit (EEOC v. Burger King Corporation, d/b/a Burger King, Civil Action No. 1:08-cv-00703, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina) that Kathleen Joyner was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment from approximately December 2006 to March 2007 by the general manager of the Clemmons, N.C.-based restaurant where she worked. The harassment included unwelcome touching, overt sexual advances, and frequent requests for sexual favors. The suit further asserted that Joyner complained about the harassment to her assistant managers, who failed to take appropriate action to stop the unlawful conduct.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. In addition to $85,000 in monetary damages, the consent decree settling the suit provides for injunctive relief preventing Burger King from discriminating against any person on the basis of sex or any other protected group under Title VII, and from retaliating against anyone who complains about such discrimination. The decree also requires Burger King to post its non-discrimination, harassment and equal employment opportunity policy in its Clemmons restaurant, where the harassment occurred, as well as each of its Winston-Salem restaurants.

Further, the consent decree requires Burger King to provide anti-harassment training to all managers and shift coordinators at the Clemmons restaurant and at the Winston-Salem Burger King -- where Joyner’s general manager was transferred -- and to review its anti-sexual harassment policy with each new employee at those restaurants. Finally, Burger King agreed to provide the EEOC with semi-annual reports of all written and verbal sexual harassment complaints received from employees at its Clemmons restaurant.

“Federal law requires employers to take reasonable steps to eliminate sexual harassment once an employee complains,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “The EEOC will continue to be aggressive in litigating egregious harassment cases, especially where the employer’s failure to stop the harassment results in harm to a teenager or young adult.”

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

This page was last modified on March 9, 2009.