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IHOP settles systemic sexual harassment lawsuit for $975,000

Posted On: Jul. 20, 2018 12:46 PM CST

IHOP settles systemic sexual harassment lawsuit for $975,000

Two Illinois International House of Pancakes L.L.C. franchisees will pay $975,000 to settle a systemic sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which they were charged with harassing female employees, including teenagers, and a male employee.

The EEOC said Thursday in a statement that numerous employees at the Glen Carbon and Alton, Illinois, restaurants were routinely sexually harassed by co-workers and managers, including offensive sexual comments, groping, physical threats and, in one instance, an alleged sexual assault.

In addition to paying the $975,000 to 16 harassment victims, under the consent decree settling the suit the restaurants will enforce tougher policies prohibiting sexual harassment and establish procedures to promptly investigate and address sexual harassment complaints, among other provisions.

“Employers are responsible for preventing workplace harassment — and their failure to do so hurts both their employees and their bottom line,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District, in a statement

“Business owners and CEOs must be proactive and involved in making sure all managers and employees understand that harassment will not be tolerated, harassers will be punished, and those who report harassment will be protected from retaliation. Prevention starts at the top.”

The restaurants’ attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.

In February, the EEOC reached a $340,000 settlement with a Louisville, Kentucky-based restaurant chain that it charged with harassing 15 former female employees, including teenagers.