Florida IHOP franchisee will pay $70k to settle sexual harassment suit
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Florida IHOP franchisee will pay $70k to settle sexual harassment suit

By WK Editorial Staff

The EEOC alleged the franchise owner and manager sexually harassed female employees.

Swami Pancake, LLC, a franchise of the IHOP restaurant chain, has agreed to pay $70,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced on January 23.

The EEOC alleged that the IHOP franchise owner and manager sexually harassed the complainant and a class of female employees through unwelcome touching, stalking, and sexual comments. Female servers were repeatedly asked to go out to dinner and groped in a back storage room. When they rejected the sexual advances, the servers also suffered unwanted changes in their work schedule, according to the EEOC’s suit.

In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree requires the restaurant owner and manager to receive one-on-one sexual harassment training. The employer also must:

  • notify employees of the EEOC settlement
  • adopt and implement a comprehensive anti-harassment policy and distribute the policy to all employees
  • provide anti-harassment training
  • provide a third-party employee hotline number for reporting complaints
  • hire an independent EEO consultant to monitor and investigate future complaints
  • submit reports to the EEOC twice yearly.

"Sexual harassers that take advantage of their power over employees must be held accountable," said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami district office. Weisberg said that provisions in the consent decree requiring provisions for a third-party hotline and an independent EEO consultant "should ensure that the conduct will not reoccur."

The EEOC had filed suit against the employer in March 2019 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process (EEOC v. Swami Pancake, LLC dba International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, S.D. Fla., No. 19-60714-CIV-AHS). The complainant intervened as a plaintiff in the case.

The court approved the consent decree between the EEOC and the defendant on January 22, 2020.

Companies: Swami Pancake, LLC; International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

News: AgencyNews Discrimination SexualHarassment RemediesDamages

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