Neighborhood Restaurant Partners (NRP), which operates an Applebee’s in Plant City, Florida, has agreed to pay $100,000 and take further action in order to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.
According to the lawsuit, line cook Jebriel Teague was repeatedly verbally harassed by two restaurant staff. The harassment included racial and homophobic epithets. Additionally, one of the employees consistently wore Confederate flag apparel while at work. Teague, who is black and gay, brought the harassment to restaurant management, who told him to “ignore it.” He then attempted to bring the issue to corporate offices, after which time his hours were reduced by 50% and he subsequently quit.
This conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the EEOC, who filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The EEOC and NRP reached a settlement which requires NRP to pay $100,000. The settlement also requires NRP to provide discrimination training, appoint a monitor to review complaints, and report harassment complaints to the EEOC.
StraightforWARD Legal Advice:
Under Title VII, conduct rises to the level of harassment when it is unwelcomed and targeted at a protected class. Employers are required to take action when workplace harassment is known. They are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting harassment.
Racial discrimination has always been prohibited by Title VII. However, it wasn’t until recently that the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited as well. Although the extent of these protections is currently being challenged in court, it is important for employers to take appropriate action when they are aware of discrimination.