Carrols Corporation – the world’s largest Burger King franchisee, with almost 600 restaurants in South Carolina and nationwide – has agreed to pay $2.5 million for sexual harassment and retaliation against employees.
The settlement ends a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit alleged workplace sexual discrimination against 89 female employees, many of them teenagers, at Burger Kings around the country.
This is from the EEOC announcement of the settlement:
The EEOC’s suit charged that Carrols subjected a class of women - including many teenagers - to egregious sexual harassment at Burger King locations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast. EEOC alleged that the harassment, which ranged from obscene comments, jokes, and propositions to unwanted touching, exposure of genitalia, strip searches, stalking, and even rape, was perpetrated by managers in the majority of cases.
According to the EEOC, Carrols also retaliated against some of the women by cutting their hours, manufacturing discipline against them, and even firing them, while it forced more women to quit because the harassment made their working conditions intolerable.
Federal law prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation against employees who complain about it.
Under the terms of the settlement, Carrols agreed to:
• Pay $2.5 million in compensatory damages and lost wages to the 89 victims
• Implement procedures to increase employee awareness of anti-harassment policies and improve the company’s response to complaints
• Improve training for managers in preventing and responding to harassment
• Use mechanisms for tracking complaints
• Take steps to prevent future harassment and retaliation.
Carrols is headquartered in Syracuse, New York. The company owns, operates, and franchises 576 Burger King restaurants in 13 states, employing more than 17,000 people.
Workers who are subjected to sexual harassment in South Carolina may have a right to sue for compensation, including lost wages and other relief.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-9-13.cfm