Female Restaurant Servers Were Harassed and Then Retaliated Against, Federal Agency Charged
SAN DIEGO - Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., one of two entities the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against alleging the sexual harassment of and retaliation against female employees, will pay $125,000 and provide other relief to settle the lawsuit, the agency announced today. Co-defendant Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC assumed full control of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in 2015. The EEOC's lawsuit against Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC continues.
According to the EEOC's suit, the restaurant manager at the Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., country club sexually harassed a class of young female servers almost daily. The EEOC's lawsuit alleges that the manager routinely abused his position by requiring female servers to acquiesce in his sexual advances for job benefits. Additionally, the agency charged that the behavior was so prevalent that other male employees felt free to engage in sexual harassment as well. Because of this hostile work environment, some female servers felt they had no choice but to resign.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting a claim against such discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern Region of California (EEOC v. Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC, and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-01853-W-AGS), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing further workplace harassment and retaliation. Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc. has agreed to retain an EEO monitor, review and revise its policies and procedures regarding discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and create a reporting structure for employees to report discrimination and harassment, which will include establishing a complaint hotline number. Additionally, Fairbanks Ranch has agreed to provide training to all employees on federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on sexual harassment. Finally, Fairbanks Ranch is required to keep records necessary to demonstrate its compliance with the decree. The decree will remain under the court's jurisdiction for the three-year term.
"We commend Fairbanks Ranch Country Club for resolving this matter and for establishing relief that will benefit its employees," said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which has jurisdiction over San Diego County.
Christopher Green, director of the EEOC's San Diego Local Office, added, "Supervisors and managers have a particular responsibility to ensure that workplaces are free of harassment and discrimination. I am encouraged that one party in this suit has agreed to take necessary steps to ensure a discrimination- and harassment-free work environment for its employees."
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
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.