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Press Release 09-12-2013

EEOC Sues Memphis Foods for Sexual Harassment of 16-Year-Old Female Employee

Federal Agency Charges KFC Store Manager Discriminated Against Minor

MEMPHIS - Memphis Foods LLC, the owner of a Memphis KFC restaurant, violated federal law by subjecting a teenage employee to sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the 16-year-old female worked as a crew member for the KFC restaurant on Winchester Road in Memphis. About two months after she began working there, the KFC's 54 year-old store manager began making unwelcome and offensive comments and physical contacts. The EEOC further charges that the company retaliated against the minor by removing her from the work schedule and firing her within weeks after she reported the harassment to other management officials.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, (Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-02712) after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to grant a permanent injunction preventing Memphis Foods from engaging in or condoning sexual harassment; and award appropriate back wages, compensatory and punitive damages.

"Sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace are always unconscionable, especially when minors are targeted and victimized," said Katharine W. Kores, director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and Northern Mississippi. "This agency considers the protection of minors in the workplace an important priority for eradicating employment discrimination."

Memphis Foods LLC is an Arkansas limited liability company that owns and operates KFC and Taco Bell Restaurants throughout the greater Memphis area. Overall, the company operates more than 60 restaurants in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

The EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website (at, which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the workforce.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Further information is available at