Luby's to Pay $135,000 for Alleged Sexual Harassment

Monday, August 3, 2009
The EEOC announced the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit against Luby's Restaurants Limited Partnership, doing business as Luby's San Antonio #19 (Luby's), for $135,000 and significant remedial relief on behalf of a class of female workers who were subjected to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment for years. Houston-based Luby's operates 128 restaurants in five states with several locations in San Antonio and throughout Texas.

The EEOC's suit (Civil Action No. SA-08-CA-0794-FB), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, charged Luby's with subjecting female employees, including a teenager, to a sexually hostile work environment at its Floyd Curl Ave., San Antonio location. Specifically, the EEOC said that the women were subjected to, among other things, repeated unwelcome sexual touching, numerous sexual comments, as well as gestures and innuendo.

The harassment, which was allowed to continue for at least four years, also included a work atmosphere permeated with lewd and sexually offensive behavior, including restraining one woman in the women's restroom while requesting sexual favors from her. Additionally, one of the female employees was forced to quit her job because Luby's failed to take appropriate action to address the harassment.

In addition to providing $135,000 in monetary damages to the women, the consent decree resolving the case enjoins Luby's from discriminating against employees based on sex and requires the following:

* Implementing an effective anti-discrimination policy;
* Conducting sexual harassment prevention training for all Luby's employees, including managers and supervisors;
* Posting of a Notice of Luby's intent to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; and
* Providing a Notice of Rights to all employees 18-years-old and younger, which explains their rights to work in an environment free from any form of harassment or discrimination.

"Employees have a legal right to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez of the agency's San Antonio Field Office. "Upon notification of a complaint of sexual harassment, employers must do whatever is needed to correct the behavior of the offending employee and prevent further harassment."

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation.

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Judith G. Taylor added, "Sexual harassment affects far too many workers in the service industries, but especially teenagers who feel they have no recourse and are especially vulnerable because of their age and inexperience. Every employer has a duty to protect its workforce from harassment."
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