U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Server/Cashier at Restaurant Subjected to Sexual Harassment and Then Retaliation for Complaining About It, Federal Agency Charged
RALEIGH, N.C. - A Goldsboro, N.C., seafood restaurant will pay $81,500 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Liza Hill worked as a server/cashier at Mayflower Seafood. Throughout 2013, Hill was subjected to offensive sexual comments and sexual touching on a regular basis by the male restaurant manager and several male kitchen workers. The suit alleged Hill complained to her immediate supervisor about the harassment, but the abuse continued. After Hill filed criminal charges against the restaurant manager and kitchen workers, her hours were reduced and she was ultimately removed from the work schedule. EEOC charged that these actions were taken in retaliation for Hill's complaints about the sexual harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees in the workplace. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division (EEOC v. Mayflower Seafood of Goldsboro, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:15-CV-00636-BO) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief to Hill, the company entered into a two-year consent decree requiring Mayflower to provide sexual harassment and retaliation training to all supervisors, managers, and employees at its Goldsboro restaurant location. The company must also report any action it takes in response to any employee's complaint about discrimination or harassment. Additionally, the company will also post a notice to employees concerning their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws EEOC enforces.
"Punishing employees who oppose discriminatory employment practices violates federal law and only makes a bad situation worse," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "We are pleased that Mayflower has agreed to provide training to its supervisors and managers as part of its efforts to ensure that retaliation does not occur in its workplace."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.