Press Release 01-23-2020

Swami Pancake, LLC Will Pay $70,000 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

 Restaurant Owner and Manager Sexually Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Charged

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Swami Pancake, LLC, a franchise of the IHOP restaurant, agreed to pay $70,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.   

The EEOC alleged that the IHOP franchise owner and manager sexually harassed female employees through unwelcome touching, stalking, and sexual comments.  Female servers were repeatedly asked to go out to dinner and groped in a back-storage room and suffered negative changes in their work schedule when they rejected the sexual advances.  

The three-year consent decree requires the owner and manager of Swami Pancake, LLC to receive one-on-one training for sexual harassment.  The restaurant must develop and distribute a comprehensive anti-harassment policy to all its employees and provide anti-harassment training. It must also provide an employee hotline phone number operated by a third-party to report complaints.   

The restaurant must notify its employees of the settlement, hire an independent EEO Consultant to monitor and investigate any future complaints, and submit reports twice a year to the EEOC. 

Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office said, "Sexual harassers that take advantage of their power over employees must be held accountable.  Requiring a third-party employee hotline and an independent EEO Consultant for employees should ensure that the conduct will not reoccur."  

"The EEOC will continue to fight for vulnerable workers, including low-wage earners in the restaurant industry, where sexual harassment continues to be so prevalent," added Michael Farrell, the director of the EEOC's Miami District Office.

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.