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EEOC: Bojangles to pay $20K in sexual harassment, retaliation suit

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Dive Brief:

  • A Greensboro, North Carolina, operator of fast food restaurant Bojangles will pay $20,000 in a sexual harassment and retaliation suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after an employee alleged facing inappropriate touching and remarks from a manager, EEOC said July 26.
  • When the employee spoke up about her manager’s behavior, she was barred from the opportunity to participate in a management training program — and ultimately was transferred to a different location as a form of retaliation, EEOC alleged. After attempting to settle the suit pre-litigation, the EEOC filed the suit, citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • As part of the settlement, Bojangles will enter into a two-year consent decree requiring the company to train all workers in specific restaurants on sexual harassment. Bojangles agreed not to rehire the manager in question, EEOC said.

Dive Insight:

While the EEOC pursues justice for employees affected by sexual harassment on the job, some employers are looking for a formal guidance re-up following the 2015 rekindling of the #MeToo movement. At a Society for Human Resource Management compliance conference, EEOC Vice Chair Jocelyn Samuels acknowledged a conference-goer’s desire for updated guidance from the agency, and noted the apparent effects of increased discourse over the past eight years — namely, increased reporting.

“Somewhat counterintuitively, it is some good news when we see an increase in charges of discrimination,” Samuels told the SHRM audience back in February. “Because it can mean that people feel empowered to report it.” 

Samuels also called out the concentration of sexual harassment claims in the retail and food service space, due to the generational power dynamics at play.

“Often [these workplaces] involve really vulnerable people, like teenagers, who are doing these jobs as their first exposure to the workplace,” she said.

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