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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday said Del Taco LLC will pay $1.25 million to settle the agency’s lawsuit charging the fast-food chain with alleged sexual harassment and retaliation against young female workers.
The EEOC said Lake Forest California-based Del Taco’s general manager and shift leader at its Rancho Cucamonga area stores sexually harassed the workers almost daily by subjecting them to unwelcome physical contact, vulgar comments and propositions for sex.
The agency said the behavior was so prevalent that other male employees allegedly felt free to engage in sexual harassment as well. It said when the female workers complained to Del Taco’s human resources department, the company failed to adequately respond, and some workers felt they had no choice but to quit because of the hostile work environment.
In addition to the $1.25 million settlement, the three-year consent decree settling the case includes companywide injunctive relief aimed at preventing workplace harassment and retaliation, among other provisions.
Rosa Viramontes, district director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles district office, said in a statement, “Young employees may be especially vulnerable to workplace harassment. It is important for employers to recognize this and create policies and practices that ensure a safe and harassment-free work environment.”
The company said in a statement, “The safety and wellbeing of our employees are always top priorities, and we take any harassment allegations very seriously. We fully cooperated with the EEOC throughout its investigation and the matter has been resolved. In addition, we completed an internal investigation and took appropriate measures.
“We remain committed to providing a safe environment for all employees and customers, free from harassment of any kind.”
(Reuters) — McDonald’s Corp. was hit on Thursday with a potentially multi-billion-dollar lawsuit by Black franchise owners who accused the fast-food giant of racial discrimination for steering them to underperforming stores.