Press Release 10-13-2020

Cincinnati-Area Group of Korean Restaurants to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

Owner Subjected Female Employee to Egregious Abuse, Including Sexual Assault, Forcing Her to Quit, Federal Agency Charged

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Cincinnati-area restaurant group will pay $75,000 to a former employee and implement other relief to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, the male owner and chef of 3501 Seoul, LLC, SushiNati, LLC, and The Korea House, LLC subjected a female employee to unwelcome and offensive sexual harass­ment, including an offer of money in exchange for sex. The harassment culminated in a sexual assault of the employee and therefore became so intolerable that the employee was compelled to quit, the EEOC said.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. 3501 Seoul, LLC, SushiNati, LLC, The Korea House, LLC, Civil Action No.1:20-cv-00277) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit requires payment of $75,000 to the harassment victim and signif­icant non-monetary relief designed to prevent further harassment. These include a letter of apology from the business owners to the harassment victim; implementation of record-keeping and anti-discrimination policies and procedures; creation of a telephone hotline for employee harassment complaints; and training for all employees, including management and the business owners, on the requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against harassment in the workplace. The companies must also establish robust investigation procedures and report all harassment complaints to the EEOC.

“The EEOC takes claims of sexual harassment very seriously and the agency is dedicated to ensuring that women are protected from unwelcome sexual conduct in the workplace,” said EEOC Indianapolis District Director Michelle Eisele.

The case was litigated by the Louisville Area Office, which is part of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District, with jurisdiction over Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and parts of Ohio.

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.