U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Burger King Franchise Owner Subjected Many Female Employees To A Hostile Work Environment And Retaliated Against Those Who Complained
DETROIT - TSW Management, Inc, an owner of several Burger King restaurants in the Metro Detroit area, violated Title VII by subjected a class of female employees to pervasive sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (Case No. 2:11-cv-13220), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the manager of TSW’s Royal Oak, Mich., Burger King severely harassed many of his female employees, including minors, over several years. The harassment included lewd comments, unwanted touching, and proposals for sexual relations. When the victims would complain or try to stop the harassment, the manager would cut hours, alter paychecks, and escalate his harassing behavior. The manager also retaliated against one victim by terminating her for insubordination. Additionally, the company did not have an effective way to report or resolve complaints of sexual harassment, which dissuaded employees from making or supporting charges of discrimination, the EEOC alleged.
“No one should have to go to work and feel unsafe due to sexual harassment, especially teens who may be working their very first job,” said Lauren Gibbs, trial attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “Furthermore, employers must have procedures in place that effectively address harassment complaints without subjecting employees to retaliatory actions.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from sexual harassment and from retaliation for complaining about illegal practices such as sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC is seeking an injunction to prohibit the company from engaging in this type of discrimination in the future, as well as monetary relief on the behalf of the victims.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s website at www.eeoc.gov.