$290,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Dunkin' Donuts Franchise, Training Ordered

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Question:  Would sexual harassment training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

College View Donuts, LLC, doing business as Dunkin' Donuts, will pay $290,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.  In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Civil Action No. 1:09-01320 TJM/RFT), the EEOC charged that the manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Wynantskill, N.Y., sexually harassed female employees, some of whom were only 16 and 17 years old.

According to the EEOC, the manager engaged in unwanted touching and hugging and made lewd sexual comments to the female employees.  The EEOC argued that College View Donuts allowed the manager's illegal conduct to continue even after two employees had complained about it a year before.  The manager was finally fired after the employees reported his conduct to the police and he was arrested.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to paying $290,000 to the former employees, the company will be bound by a six-year consent decree enjoining it from engaging in further discrimination or retaliation.  The decree calls for the appointment of an equal employment opportunity coordinator and training for all employees and managers on sexual harassment prevention.  The company will issue a letter of apology to the women; revise its anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures; post a notice to employees about the resolution of the lawsuit; and never re-hire the manager responsible for the harassment.

“Sexual harassment is never acceptable, but it is especially troubling when the victims are teenagers,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Adela Santos.

EEOC New York District Office Regional Attorney Elizabeth Grossman added, “Companies must understand and fulfill their obligation to protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace.  We are very glad that this employer is taking steps to train its work force and remedy the problems that allowed this situation to happen.”

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