ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Rochester-based companies that operate the Mr. Dominic’s restaurants will pay $60,000 and other relief in a settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the commission announced Tuesday.
According to the lawsuit, Green Lantern Inn, Inc. and Pullman Associates, LLC subjected several female employees to a hostile work environment by a male head chef and kitchen manager, including sexually explicit derogatory comments and threats of physical harm.
EEOC’s suit also alleged that the chef retaliated with unfair discipline and interference with customer orders when employees would oppose his conduct, and that Mr. Dominic’s failed to take any action, constructively discharging the employees after complaints of an intolerable work environment.
The alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees due to their sex.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
“The EEOC is committed to addressing sexual harassment in the restaurant industry,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for EEOC’s New York District in a statement. “We appreciate Mr. Dominic’s recognition of its responsibility to provide a harassment-free workplace, including its commitment to engage an independent investigator to handle complaints going forward. The EEOC is committed to vigorously enforcing anti-discrimination laws on behalf of all restaurant industry workers.”
The five-year consent decree settlement yielded $60,000 in backpay and damages to the employees who were subjected to the harassment. It also included an injunction prohibiting future discrimination, anti-discrimination and harassment training, revisions to company policies, and procedures for investigating similar complaints.
According to the EEOC, Mr. Dominic’s also agreed not to employ the head chef accused of harassment and general manager who failed to respond to employees’ complaints for the duration of the decree. The EEOC will monitor the restaurants’ compliance with these obligations for the next five years.