A Michigan restaurant has agreed to pay $200,000 and furnish other relief settle a federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, authorities say.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit against Traverse City restaurant Georgina’s LLC, and its successor, Anthony’s Little G’s. The EEOC charged that Georgina’s owner repeatedly made lewd sexual comments to a female sous chef. The agency alleged that when the sous chef complained to a manager, the owner stripped her of authority in the kitchen and changed her schedule; ten minutes later, the owner fired her.
The EEOC also charged that other female employees were subjected to offensive conduct by the owner, including inappropriate touching, being kissed without consent, and being subjected to continuous comments about how he wanted to have sex with them.
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment and discrimination because of sex. The EEOC filed suit against Georgina’s in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Case No: 1:18-cv-00668) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. After suit was filed, Georgina’s owner opened Anthony’s Little G’s. The EEOC then filed an amended complaint alleging that Anthony’s Little G’s is a successor employer to Georgina’s.
Georgina’s and Little G’s agreed to entry of a consent judgment to settle the suit. Pursuant to the terms of the judgment, the restaurants were liable for the intentional, malicious and unlawful employment practices specified in the amended complaint.
The judgment awards $200,000 in back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.
A permanent injunction and order were also entered against the restaurants, requiring all employees, including Georgina’s owner, to receive two hours of interactive training on sexual harassment and retaliation.
“The owner’s behavior was egregious and widespread,” Kenneth Bird, regional attorney for the Indianapolis District Office said in an announcement. “This consent judgment reflects the EEOC’s commitment to stand up to such behavior.”
The Indianapolis District Office oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.
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