Archive for the 'Retaliatory Discrimination' Category

Rosebud Restaurants for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

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Server Was Sexually Harassed and Fired After Complaining About Harassment and Racial Slurs Against African-Americans, Federal Agency Alleges

CHICAGO – Chicago company Rosebud Restaurants violated federal civil rights laws by subjecting a server to sexual harassment and then firing her after she complained about sexual harassment and objected to employees in the company referring to African-Americans by racial slurs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago, the EEOC’s pre-suit investigation revealed that Tina Rosenthal, who worked as a server at Rosebud’s now-closed Centro location, was subjected to sexual harassment by another server in 2013. The alleged harassment included unwelcome sexual comments and propositions and touching. Rosenthal complained about the harassment to managers, but Rosebud did not take adequate steps to address her complaints, the EEOC claims.

In September 2013, the EEOC sued Rosebud for failing to hire African-American applicants because of their race. After the EEOC filed suit, Rosenthal, who is white, objected during a company meeting to employees using racial slurs to refer to blacks. A few weeks later, according to the EEOC, Rosebud fired Rosenthal for pretextual reasons.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about or opposing discrimination.

The EEOC’s race discrimination suit settled in May 2017 with a four-year consent decree providing $1.9 million in monetary relief for black applicants who were denied jobs at Rosebud. The decree also required hiring goals for African-Americans, recruiting of black applicants, monitoring of Rosebud’s hiring practices, and training.

The EEOC filed yesterday’s suit against Rosebud after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case (EEOC v. Rosebud Restaurants, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-6815 was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and assigned to Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan.

“Here, Rosebud was already facing a race discrimination lawsuit, and compounded the problem by firing an employee who objected to racially offensive comments,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “The EEOC takes retaliation very seriously. The employment discrimination protections that Title VII provides are hollow if employees who oppose discrimination face reprisal. We will not let a retaliatory termination go unchallenged.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Better 4 You Breakfast Settles EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliatory Discrimination

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School Meals Provider Will Pay $62,500 to Settle Retaliation Claims and Provide Training to Employees on Retaliation

PHOENIX – A Commerce, Calif.-based company that provides prepared meals to schools has agreed to settle the claims against it in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit charged that Better 4 You Breakfast violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by retaliating against five Phoenix employees who had opposed unlawful sexual harassment and participated in an EEOC investigation of that harassment. While Better 4 You Breakfast had no role in the harass­ment against these employees, the EEOC charged that the company refused to rehire the five emp­loyees because they had engaged in the protected activity.

“Retaliation for participating in protected activity in the workplace cannot be allowed,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “In this case, these employees were not allowed to return to work because they asserted their right to oppose harassment in the workplace. We are pleased that Better 4 You worked cooperatively with us to resolve the claims against them and to evaluate its policies and training on retaliation.”

The 24-month consent decree settling the suit provides that Better 4 You Breakfast will pay $62,500 to the five retaliation victims. In addition, the company will provide training to its supervisors and employees to ensure that they know what actions are retaliatory and how to prevent retaliation in the future. The decree also requires Better 4 You Breakfast to post a notice in the workplace explaining what retaliation is and what employees should do if they feel they have been retaliated against.

Elizabeth Cadle, the director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said, “The successful resolu­tion of these claims is part of the EEOC’s ongoing efforts to enforce federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. Retaliation is one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination; nearly 46 percent of charges allege it. The outcome here should encourage all employers to respect the rights of employees who engage in legally protected activity.”