Two IHOP restaurants in Illinois have settled to pay over $1 million dollars in restitution by the federal government and a group of employees that underwent extreme sexual harassment at the two diners. The settlement was proposed last week but still requires approval from the court. This case of alleged harassment, falls on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recent crackdown.
It has been reported by the EEOC that the food service industry sits as a high-risk working environment in which sexual harassment is more abundant. It comes as no surprise that workers and other industry members have been targeted with lawsuits.
Prevention of sexual harassment and other types of harassment such as age, race or gender discrimination are part of the EEOC’s six strategic enforcement priorities for a better and safer working atmosphere.
“Employers are responsible for preventing workplace harassment—and their failure to do so hurts both their employees and their bottom line,” Andrea G. Baran, the regional attorney for the EEOC said. “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,” she said.
James R Neely Jr. also a director with EEOC commented, “The EEOC is committed to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. But when harassment does occur, we encourage affected employees—whether victims or bystanders—to report the harassment to their employers and, if necessary, to the EEOC to ensure the unlawful conduct does not continue.”
Brianne Timmons was only 17 years old when she was an employee at the Glen Carbon IHOP. Her file accuses the restaurant’s general manager, Rami Ramadan, for allegedly holding a steak knife to Timmon’s throat after she told him “No” to his advances. So far, Timmons has already beem paid $75,000 as a settlement for her claims.
The companies are set forth to fire and not rehire Ramadan and other employees who have been allegedly exercising harassment in the workplace. The company would also be implementing a zero tolerance anti-discrimination and harassment policy.