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EEOC Charged Restaurant Employees and Managers with Verbal and Sexual Harassment

La Rana Hawaii, LLC, doing business as Señor Frog’s, a popular Mexican-themed restaurant and bar, will pay $350,000 to settle a harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 13 female employees.

The federal agency filed a suit charging that at least 10 female staffers were subjected to sexual comments, language and advances, and unwelcome physical contact from male employees, including managers.

The suit further alleges that some employees were subjected to retaliation after complaining about the harassment and also that the women were treated less favorably than their male co-workers; they were passed over for promotions, assigned less favorable shifts, and earned less than their male counterparts.

This alleged behavior is in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

La Rana Hawaii will pay $350k to 13 female claimants in EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit

As part of the settlement, the parties have entered into a three-year consent decree that requires La Rana Hawaii, LLC to pay $350,000 to 13 female claimants. The company has closed its Honolulu establishment. But if La Rana chooses to open another restaurant or chooses to reopen the Señor Frog’s in Hawaii, the consent decree requires the creation and distribution of an anti-harassment policy along with annual training for all restaurant employees to prevent any and all future instances of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation and the EEOC will monitor compliance with the agreement.

The EEOC also named Altres Inc., a Hawaii staffing company in its lawsuit. The company was contracted by LA Rana Hawaii to provide human resources services as well as oversee the company’s non-management staff during the time of the alleged harassment. Altres previously settled with the EEOC for $150,000 and injunctive relief that includes EEO training for its employees.

“Our young workers are all too often the targets of the most insidious forms of sexual harassment, which can spread like wildfire at work,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC. “Employers who fail to fulfill their moral and legal obligation to prevent and immediately stop the sexual abuse of its young workers will answer to the EEOC.”

Timothy Riera, local director for the EEOC, added, “The EEOC takes workplace harassment against young workers very seriously.”

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